Bienestar Sin Fronteras, Wellness Without Borders
When Alice Jordan-Miles was a teenager, she was in a lot of emotional pain. It was so unbearable that she tried to take her own life. Looking back, she had no idea she would eventually learn to cope with her depression and in turn, help thousands of area residents with their own mental health issues.
With support from the St. Joe Foundation and The Lutheran Foundation, Jordan-Miles, now the Director of the Purdue Fort Wayne Behavioral Health and Family Studies Institute, is set to kick off a three year-initiative focused specifically on mental health wellness for area Latino residents. The program, Bienestar Sin Fronteras (Wellness Without Borders), aims to support hundreds of individuals with more than 1,000 hours of either individual, family or group therapy.
“This program is designed to change the cultural compass of how we, especially Latinos, view mental health,” says Jordan-Miles. “In many Latino families, it’s a taboo to discuss depression, anxiety or any mental health concern.”
Bienestar Sin Fronteras will work to address the stigma surrounding mental health concerns through a three-pronged effort. First, the program will work with local media outlets, such as the Spanish newspaper El Mexicano, to inform Spanish-speaking audiences about mental health and how to address issues. Next, Jordan-Miles will train Spanish-speaking residents in suicide prevention strategies as well general strategies to recognize and address a variety of mental health concerns. Finally, the program will connect residents in need of support to therapy provided by licensed mental health practitioners who are native-born and fully bilingual.
“Our therapists understand the cultural challenges that surround mental health issues in Latino families,” says Jordan-Miles. “Ultimately, I hope this program will make this a more mentally well community, not just for Latinos, but for all people.”
Bienestar Sin Fronteras officially kicks off March 1, but preliminary promotions and translation services are already underway. Anyone with questions about the program may email firstname.lastname@example.org
The St. Joe Foundation supports Bienestar Sin Fronteras through its Refugees & Immigrants impact area, which supports efforts that assure refugees and immigrants will be welcomed with dignity and assisted in accessing healthcare and critical resources.
A primary funder of the program is The Lutheran Foundation and other partners include Purdue Fort Wayne and Parkview Behavioral Health.