DENVER — The shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school happened in Uvalde, Texas -- a community that is predominantly Latino.
As more of the victims' names are released, it's revealed that those who lost their lives are Latino as well.
"It's impacted our community members, but it's also impacted our staff," said Ana Vizoso, the Vice President of Health and Wellness at Servicios de la Raza. "We've held safe spaces for not only staff to process, but for community members who may be struggling emotionally to be able to process the event."
While Servicios takes in clients regardless of ethnicity, many of their clinicians hold a special focus in helping Latinos.
"We have a huge community need for behavioral health services," Vizoso said.
Servicios opened their behavioral health lines this week for people to call and connect with someone who can specifically help with processing what happened.
> If you or someone you know needs help, call 720-410-7108 to be directed. The line will be open for the next few weeks.
"Something we really pride ourselves in is that the majority of our clinicians and behavioral health staff reflect the communities that we serve," Vizoso said.
This is important, Vizoso said, because culturally responsive mental health services help break barriers for those thinking about getting help.
"I would say stigma is still very much present in our community. I think there's a lot of misinformation around mental health," Vizoso said. "So I think through that education, we've been able to really engage community services and community members in services."
Citing U.S. Census Bureau Data, the American Psychological Association reported that just 7% of the country's psychologists were Hispanic as of 2019.
"And so I think that creating pipelines within education to really promote this field is extremely important for organizations like us to continue to be able to serve our community," Vizoso said.
WellPower in Denver also launched a new free virtual therapy service that gives Denverites three free sessions with a WellPower clinician. They also have Spanish-speaking clinicians.
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