NAMI CA Heritage Month Newsletter
Highlighting Hispanic Heritage Month

September 30th, 2017
Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. It is a time to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of people whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin American Countries.
The day of September 15 is significant because it marks the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries that include Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Furthermore, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

" The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402." ( Source

NAMI California recognizes the importance of embracing our diverse communities and striving for inclusiveness within the mental health system. Therefore during the following months we will highlight specific heritage, history and affiliate community engaging activities.
Community Member Highlight: Maria Rosa Alvarado

In celebration and honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, NAMI California would like to recognize Maria Rosa Alvarado.  Ms. Alvarado grew up in Mexico and moved to the United States over thirty years ago. Within her family she explained, that there was persistent stigma around mental health since a very young age. If someone was sick or had signs of depression, they would be taken to the "curandero" or a shaman that would help to heal their symptoms. This stigma persisted as she got older, however, she decided to take a leap of faith.

Ms. Alvarado reached out to NAMI almost 12 years ago after learning about her mental health diagnosis and also becoming informed about her loved ones mental health condition. She decided to take action and seek support in order to help herself and her loved ones move forward and into recovery. For the past year and a half, Maria has taken the torch and has been an active Mental Health 101 presenter reaching the Latino and Spanish speaking communities in Riverside County. She has made an immense impact by informing and raising awareness around mental health and mental illness.

Maria has shared with us the following in her experiences presenting to the community:
"By doing these presentations[MH101] the response has been amazing, people have told me that after the presentation they have made the decision to call the doctor and make an appointment to get evaluated, or to take their son or daughter to be evaluated, in other cases people that been thinking about suicide have come to me and say thank you for talking about something that I was thinking I was alone, and this gives me hope to go and have a conversation with my family and ask for help, in my opinion this is a vital program for our community. We are saving lives! And we must continue fighting to have the stigma be part of the past and have a better future for the new generations..."

Today Maria is a proud NAMI Mt. San Jacinto Board Member, Family to Family Teacher, Support Group Facilitator, and Compartiendo Esperanza Presenter. NAMI California is honored to have her as part of the NAMI family and recognizes her passion and spirit as one that we will look up for the many years to come. 
NAMI Affiliate Corner: September Events

Marisol Mariche, NAMI El Dorado County's Spanish Community Outreach Leader
On September 12, 2017, NAMI El Dorado County and the Family Resource Center hosted a collaborative event titled,"Presentacion de la prevencion de suicidio" [Presentation on Suicide Prevention] to outreach and raise awareness around mental health to the Latino community. 

The  presentation was conducted by NAMI El Dorado County's Marisol Mariche, Spanish Community Outreach leader and her friend, Dr. Hector Toledano, Licensed Psychologist from Reno, NV with some suicide prevention materials from and Participants were able to learn about prevalence of suicide, symptoms of suicide, what to say to a loved one experiencing symptoms and where to find help. The presentation was followed by a healthy delicious dinner and an opportunity for community members to network and share those experiences. 

Dr. Hector Toledano, Licensed Psychologist, speaking to the attendees.
El Dorado County, CA's overall Latino population is 13.11% whereas in South Lake Tahoe (a rural community within El Dorado 
County) there is a Latino population of 25.6% according to . The event was highly appreciated by the attendees and the community leaders of mental health services and supports in South Lake Tahoe.

As a result of the event, NAMI El Dorado County has been invited to meet with families every Friday morning to raise awareness about mental health at the Family Resource Center in South Lake Tahoe. More interest is being raised in this rural community.

NAMI Kern County in partnership with the Lamont Chamber of Commerce, supported their local communities by participating and spreading information about mental health at the Mexico Independence Day Celebration on September 16, 2017 in Lamont, CA. The day started with the annual parade which showed the rich culture of the people in Kern County.

All the way from the Mexican Folklorico dances, to charros wearing their ranchero outfits-a rich diverse culture was presented through the parade of different people from all walks of life. 
Following the parade, the crowd had an opportunity to go to Lamont Park to taste delicious Mexican food, enjoy the entertainment and learn more about resources offered in the community. 
NAMI Kern County was first in line ready to spread information in both English and Spanish to community members. Local NAMI affiliate representatives were present to provide Each Mind Matters Spanish brochures, handouts, ribbons and bracelets. People expressed toward the end of the day the following, "Thank you for listening and understanding". 

This was a big step taken by NAMI Kern County as they developed new partnerships with organizations and more importantly started to develop the trust among the Latino community.  
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