Serving the community since 1970

Workshop sheds light on mental health

In partnership with Dignity Health, Community Health Initiative hosted a Spanish language workshop on mental health.

The workshop's focus was to understand how to close negative chapters in life, letting go of those things holding you back so one can move forward in life, regardless of a mental health condition.

CHI helps people access health insurance and other social services like assistance with food, legal advice and housing. As a one-stop shop, they can refer the community to essential resources dealing with mental health.

"We see a lack of education on mental health, especially in the Hispanic community," SAID program coordinator Marisol Guillen. "There is also much stigma, and this workshop is a way to address that."

"We want to highlight that mental health is just as important as physical health. Our presentation, 'Closing Cycles,' teaches the steps to overcome those hurtful experiences to benefit your mental health well-being," said Guillen.

"Here there is an opportunity to learn in a safe and compassionate environment. We can connect you with help 24 hours a day. If someone needs it, we provide local phone numbers to those in crisis to call," said community health worker and presenter Maria de los Angeles Bucio.

Many in attendance shared their mental health challenges.

"It was a way for me to release my emotions confidentially, and it helps people like me that don't have anyone to talk to," said Reyna Sanchez.

"I just came out of a violent situation where my husband was an alcoholic. I left him eight days ago, but it has scarred me both physically and emotionally because of the abuse," said Maria Isabel Ramos.

"This workshop helped me to understand that I do need professional help. I want to see a psychologist, and now I have the resources critical to my recovery," said Ramos.

Some came to learn how to deal with a family member living with a mental health condition.

"I have a daughter that suffers from depression. She tried to commit suicide, and it has been a terrifying journey to get her the right help that she desperately needs. This workshop showed me that there is light at the end of the tunnel," said Raul Rosales.

Others living with what is referred to as an invisible disease expressed their appreciation that the workshop was presented in Spanish and in person.

"I have been going through therapy for a very long time, but my primary language is Spanish. At this workshop led in Spanish, I was better able to grasp the information to better myself," said Anna Machuca.

"It was great that the workshop was in person, and I Iiked that it was interactive. Here I got the acceptance and the love that I need," said Sanchez. "What I learned here today I can share with other people who also might feel lost."

The workshop aims to break down barriers related to mental health.

"I would recommend this workshop 100% even without a diagnosis. Here we discussed an issue that is tabu, which helped me better understand it," said Machuca.

"I learned that it is not my fault, and I have much potential to close those traumatic cycles. Forgiving myself and the person who hurt me is key to restoring my mental health," said Machuca.

It was the second workshop held, with the first one drawing over 60 people.

The workshops came to fruition with the help of Mayor Gilberto Reyna and Father Guillermo Preciado of St. John the Evangelist Church.

"We started this because we saw that it was really needed in the community," said Mayor Reyna. "These workshops are providing a great service to Wasco residents."

"There are people living with anxiety and depression, for example, and they don't know how to deal with it. Bringing these workshops to them allows them to learn how to best navigate their feelings while taking advantage of the resources available.".

For more information about the workshops and upcoming events, call 661-632-5018.


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