First mental health forum for Latinos a success

Posted on April 29, 2010 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Over 40 parents convened at Flowery Elementary School to learn how to reduce stress and improve communication within their families. The forum, first in a series presented in Spanish and organized by local sociologist Noris Binet, featured Marcia Gomez, LCSW, from Santa Rosa. Gomez explained the importance of recognizing the causes of stress and its implications in the overall wellbeing of individuals, families and children.

The forum series reflects a holistic approach for education, prevention and early intervention of mental health issues for Latino families in Sonoma. The series is just one aspect of the Nueva Vida (New Life) Program, funded by a grant from the Sonoma County Mental Health Department, directed, designed and facilitated by Binet, under the auspices of the CommonBond Foundation.

Gomez introduced the parents to several important components for understanding and practicing emotional and mental wellbeing. Placing particular emphasis on the added burdens upon immigrants, Gomez explained different kinds of stress, provided humorous examples of both negative and positive communication techniques with children, described patterns of healthy discipline and presented personal practices for reducing one’s stress and restoring a sense of peace and wellbeing.

Underscoring much of the significance of the presentation was Gomez’s report to the group from research findings on the effects of immigration among Latinos in the United States. She explained to the parents most immigrants come to this country healthy only to become sick because of the negative effects of the stresses inherent in the immigration process.

For more information about Nueva Vida, contact Noris Binet, 938.2559