February 14, 2023

Collaboration in Culturally Responsive Counseling

JFS mental health counselors Roxana Cordova, LCSW, and Margarita Arteaga Alcantara, ACMHC, both bilingual, native Spanish speakers, together with Valentina Pastrana, Counseling Intern, at the Christian Center of Park City (CCPC), have started a Spanish Clinical Consultation Group. The impetus behind forming the group was to provide a space where counselors can talk about the unique experiences of the Spanish-speaking community and discuss specific culturally competent interventions to utilize-- especially as clients in Salt Lake and Park City are becoming more linguistically and culturally diverse.

Cultural values, cultural competency, immigration journey, generational trauma, stigma, and acculturation, all affect the outcome and engagement of Spanish-speaking clients with mental health services. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than half of Hispanic young adults ages 18-25 with serious mental illness may not receive treatment. This inequality puts these communities at a higher risk for more severe and persistent forms of mental health conditions, because without treatment, mental health conditions often worsen.

The Clinical Consultation Group will work to identify challenges in providing mental health care in Spanish, including, but not limited to, describing clinical/mental health-related terms that do not exist in Spanish, or when clinical presentation may vary due to cultural differences, while making sure the information is delivered in respectful and affirming manner. The hope to grow the group over time, inviting other counselors and community partners to join.