Bilingual Psychotherapy Program at CARE Clinic, Red Wing

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Kayla Hanson, CHC 2014-15 VISTA (left) and Lucy Richardson, Executive Director of Hispanic Outreach (right).

Access to health services is limited for many low-income, uninsured individuals and their families. When there is also a language barrier, access is doubly difficult. In areas like the Twin Cities metro, where clinics and bilingual therapists are relatively plentiful, there are resources for Spanish-speakers requiring mental health services. In less populated areas, services are found sparingly. In the case of Goodhue County, they were completely unavailable.

A collaboration in Red Wing between the C.A.R.E. Clinic and Hispanic Outreach, a non-profit dedicated to supporting needs of Hispanic community members, is now addressing these issues in Goodhue County. Lucy Richardson, the executive director of Hispanic Outreach, has known of this need since 2007: “Before the program even began, I built trust with many of the clients. Sometimes we would talk on the phone for an hour.” It was obvious to her that the mental health needs of many Hispanic residents were not being met.

Meanwhile, the C.A.R.E. Clinic opened its doors in 2010 and began serving many of the clients in contact with Hispanic Outreach. As there were no Spanish-speaking therapists that practiced south of the Twin Cities metro, low-income, uninsured, Spanish-speaking patients in need of mental health care in Red Wing, Goodhue, and Lake City had to rely on interpreter services at the clinic or commute to the Twin Cities to seek treatment.

The College Health Corps VISTA Volunteer in 2014-15, Kayla Hanson, laid the groundwork for a bilingual psychotherapy program by raising funds and helping to translate necessary documents into Spanish. The clinic also conducted a survey of Spanish-speaking residents in the area, and over 90% of survey respondents indicated that they needed and would use bilingual mental health services. Following an official partnership between the C.A.R.E. Clinic and Hispanic Outreach and a successful grant application, the bilingual psychotherapy program was established in 2015, and a bilingual therapist was hired.

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Participants in the “Self Esteem” workshop hosted by CARE Clinic

Access to health services is limited for many low-income, uninsured individuals and their families. When there is also a language barrier, access is doubly difficult. In areas like the Twin Cities metro, where clinics and bilingual therapists are relatively plentiful, there are resources for Spanish-speakers requiring mental health services. In less populated areas, services are found sparingly. In the case of Goodhue County, they were completely unavailable.

A collaboration in Red Wing between the C.A.R.E. Clinic and Hispanic Outreach, a non-profit dedicated to supporting needs of Hispanic community members, is now addressing these issues in Goodhue County. Lucy Richardson, the executive director of Hispanic Outreach, has known of this need since 2007: “Before the program even began, I built trust with many of the clients. Sometimes we would talk on the phone for an hour.” It was obvious to her that the mental health needs of many Hispanic residents were not being met.

Meanwhile, the C.A.R.E. Clinic opened its doors in 2010 and began serving many of the clients in contact with Hispanic Outreach. As there were no Spanish-speaking therapists that practiced south of the Twin Cities metro, low-income, uninsured, Spanish-speaking patients in need of mental health care in Red Wing, Goodhue, and Lake City had to rely on interpreter services at the clinic or commute to the Twin Cities to seek treatment.

The College Health Corps VISTA Volunteer in 2014-15, Kayla Hanson, laid the groundwork for a bilingual psychotherapy program by raising funds and helping to translate necessary documents into Spanish. The clinic also conducted a survey of Spanish-speaking residents in the area, and over 90% of survey respondents indicated that they needed and would use bilingual mental health services. Following an official partnership between the C.A.R.E. Clinic and Hispanic Outreach and a successful grant application, the bilingual psychotherapy program was established in 2015, and a bilingual therapist was hired.

The program now has 19 regular clients with four additional family members during its sessions. Clients are mainly from Red Wing but also come from Goodhue and range in age from children to adults. A variety of mental health issues have been treated including depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder, PTSD, and OCD, as well as child-parent interactions. The services are in such high demand that all six time slots are continuously filled and a waiting list was started. Following an average of two sessions, clients already show decreased anxiety and depression according to anxiety and depression diagnostic scoring. The program also conducted a “Self Esteem” workshop, which was well-attended and recruited more clients.

In the future, C.A.R.E. will conduct further workshops “to determine the wants and needs of the community,” Ms. Richardson says. They also hope to begin support groups on topics including but not limited to parenting and relationships.

The bilingual psychotherapy program of the C.A.R.E. Clinic and Hispanic Outreach in Red Wing is a program that works. It was made in response to a gap in service, and in a relatively short amount of time has helped many. As Ms. Richardson says, “these services are important. They cross linguistic barriers and barriers to resources.”

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