We would like to thank Colorado Spirit Counselor, Javier Acosta, for writing this week’s content in both English and Spanish.
The pandemic has cemented mental health as an important part of our lives, and it consistently needs maintenance. Over the past two years, we have both struggled and demonstrated resiliency with managing the need to adjust to sudden changes in our daily lives. Although the global adaptation to the pandemic is a pinnacle of human achievement, we sometimes forget the importance of taking care of ourselves in times of crisis. And sometimes when we do recognize the importance, we don’t know where to begin. The ongoing concern, “How can I receive behavioral health support?” continues in the Hispanic community; especially when barriers like documentation, communication, and affordability may get in the way of receiving treatment.
As a Hispanic male, I believe that receiving behavioral health treatment is one of the biggest concerns for the Hispanic community. Various factors can affect your individual situation. Many members of my community were not citizens or residents until recent years. A lot of them had no insurance or access to treatment. This caused many people to dismiss the importance of physical and mental health since care was not accessible. Accessing treatment can be a difficult process, and it becomes more challenging if there is a communication or language barrier. It is hard to navigate the behavioral health field on your own. For that reason, I have become an advocate to identifying resources that will make the process easier for Spanish speakers and Latinos.
My goal is to highlight a few options to help overcome barriers faced by the Latin American community with regard to behavioral health support. In my search I identified a few locations based on some key factors: accessibility for Spanish speakers, a variety of treatment options, and proximity to Douglas and Arapahoe Counties. I would like to state that this may not work for everyone and is in no way meant to be a guide for your individual experience. My intention was to gather information and personally experience the process so I could share it with those who may not know where to begin. No matter where your location is or what your unique situation is, I hope these resources can aid or inspire you to begin your journey in accessing care.
Let’s begin with my team. I am part of the Colorado Spirit team at AllHealth Network. Our program offers free short-term emotional and mental health support for people dealing with stress due to the pandemic. Our team is constantly looking for ways to better serve the diverse cultures in our counties, and we respond to what our community needs from us. It could be as simple as talking to someone in times of stress. Anyone can call our hotline, ask for resources, or join our presentations and support groups. I am a fluent Spanish speaker on the team and will always do my best to help in any shape or form that I can. We care about your mental health and we are here to help. This service is FREE of charge. No documentation is needed.
AllHealth Network has locations throughout Arapahoe and Douglas County and serves individuals of all ages. AllHealth Network is a not for profit organization that provides therapy, psychiatry, crisis services, substance use treatment, and more. I called the information and appointment line at 303-730-8858. Once I connected with them, I explained the research I was conducting and ran some scenarios by them. Here is some valuable information I received that could be helpful. When I called, the answering service provided the option to speak with someone fluent in Spanish. If a client cannot speak English fluently, AllHealth Network will bring in a bilingual scheduler to make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible. The introductory process involves a 3-way zoom call so they can interview and accommodate the needs of the client. Questions about family and cultural background are asked during this phase of receiving treatment. Staff members in the organization are considerate about doubts and feelings a client might have about receiving treatment. There is an understanding of the diverse and different ideologies people have. They try their best to gather valuable information in order to better serve the client. AllHealth Network also accepts many different payment sources including Medicaid, insurance through work, and sliding scale payments.
Lastly, I called Aurora Mental Health Center at 303-617-2300. They have a wide range of support services and an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. They begin with an interview process, which can be done in Spanish, and assess what the client’s needs are. After they gain a better understanding of the client’s background, they connect the client with appropriate counseling services. Payment is the last subject covered. They offer different forms of payment like insurance through work, Medicaid, and sliding scale. If a client has no insurance, AuMHC will recommend the sliding scale form of payment which is a reduced price option calculated by income. This is specifically available to Aurora residents. Payments can range from $25-$160 if a client qualifies. Remember that other centers not included in this list also have similar programs, so don’t get discouraged if you are not an Aurora resident. An example would be AllHealth Network which was mentioned previously.
A barrier to healthcare is finding a provider that can understand and respect an individual’s background. I found a wide range of resources for the Hispanic population, and it makes me comfortable simply knowing they exist. Some organizations can better understand language and culture barriers because of their considerations. I did not feel like an outsider when I spoke with these organizations listed above. They spoke about their understanding of the embedded culture/stigma Hispanics face and why many could be wary of treatment. All these locations expressed their commitment to serving the Latin community. I encourage everyone who reads this to begin their search for behavioral health assistance if needed. This was a very short list of the many options available to our community. I do understand why it is hard for our Latino population to put effort into finding these services. I called places, not included in this list, which had no relevant services or bilingual therapists. I even felt discouraged for asking. Some people may hesitate to look for coverage because they are skeptical, afraid, and unsure of how the process works. The truth is, it is a more difficult process than for those fluent in English and U.S. citizens/residents. Although it is harder, it is not impossible. Our people are resilient, and we continue to better our community by informing, aiding, and improving ourselves for the good of the collective. I care deeply about our population, culture, and preservation. Let us further our success and health by beginning the leap into a healthier life.
If speaking to someone would help, please reach out.
For information about other services at AllHealth Network or to get connected with ongoing behavioral health support, please call 303-730-8858. AllHealth Network is continuing to provide service via telehealth or by phone and our Crisis Walk-in Center remains open 24/7.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate assistance, please call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 1-844-493-8255 (TALK)or text TALK to 38255.
How do you know if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis? Click here to learn about mental health crisis warning signs to look out for from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Be sure to follow us on Facebook to receive information about our free groups and get notifications when we post coping tips, mindfulness suggestions, and more.