Albuquerque nonprofit providing mental health services to Spanish speakers

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ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A behavioral health outpatient clinic originally from the South Valley is working to address the language barrier and provide mental health resources to the Spanish-speaking population. Centro Savila offers therapy and counseling services to bilingual youth, adults and families.

Years ago, the organization started with a licensed clinician and a few case managers. People told their CEO that the organization had no chance, that Spanish speakers were less likely to go to therapy. Today, approaching their 10th anniversary, the organization has 30 employees and covers the South Valley, International District and North Valley.

Chief Financial Officer Guiovanna Aguirre said her staff had first-hand experience of some of the hurdles her clients face. “Mental health services themselves are difficult to access in our state, and then you add a language barrier for the Spanish-speaking population, so we are privileged to have very knowledgeable and experienced staff working in the community. for a long time, who also live in the community we serve,” Aguirre said.

To kick off the new year, Centro Savila is gearing up to offer virtual cooking classes to help families learn important life skills. Critical Time Response Case Manager Hope Hiester said starting in February, Centro Savila and Three Sisters Kitchen will provide a 13-week virtual cooking program and meal kits.

“The big inspiration behind this is providing skills to learn how to hold a knife when cooking properly, learning how to access fresh, local ingredients to provide themselves with nutritious, healthy and balanced meals, and learning alongside their family to cook,” Hiester said.

Families who sign up for the program will receive cooking kits every two weeks with everything needed for two meals. Families will receive a Zoom link for the cooking class, which will take place every Thursday evening. The cooking class kits will be distributed on Wednesdays at the Centro Savila offices.

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