Compartiendo Esperanza: Sharing Hope with Our Latino Community

JUL. 20, 2016

By Elyssa Diamond


In celebration of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month last year, NAMI Montgomery County, Md., shared a message of hope with Latino parishioners at St. Jude’s Church in Rockville. Following the weekly Sunday night Mass in Spanish, we organized the NAMI program Compartiendo Esperanza.

It can be difficult to raise the topic of mental health among Latinos. Many individuals in the community take care of their family by holding down multiple jobs. Physical health is often not as high a priority as getting the work done, so mental health can be viewed as a luxury.

Even though this is a challenging topic in this community, over 50 people attended the presentation. Two NAMI volunteers—a family member and a person living with a mental health condition—shared their personal stories and led an interactive presentation. The family member recounted vivid stories of living in her home country with an aunt who struggled with schizophrenia. The other presenter moved the audience with her story of overcoming difficult symptoms of both obsessive-compulsive disorder and mild autism.

After the presentation, a reception was held with food donated by local restaurants, including a favorite local Latino bakery. The reception provided a chance for everyone to mingle and talk to the speakers. Attendees even began to share their own stories.

Overall, the event was a huge success. It gave NAMI Montgomery County, Md. the opportunity to develop a long-term relationship with the church. The event also led to increased participation in our support groups and also helped us gain a program volunteer.

Presenting Compartiendo Esperanza can help NAMI Affiliates reach out to nearby Latino communities in a setting where attendees feel comfortable. It’s a great way to start the conversation about Latino mental health. To learn more about the program, click here.


Elyssa L. Diamond, MSW, is the Advocacy & Latino Programs Coordinator at NAMI Montgomery County, Md., where she has worked for more than two years. Bilingual in English and Spanish, she has honed her multicultural competency by working at a variety of non-profit organizations and the Montgomery County Government.


AUG, 01, 2016 09:58:22 AM
I am from Latino parents, 1st generation American. I have a teenaged son who has metal illness. ADHD, ODD, MDD, OCD. I am estranged from my immediate family bc they don't understand mental health and the professionals who work to stabilize and treat these diseases. The stigma is real in the Latino communities. The denial is real. More education needs to be provided to help these communities evolve in a healthy way. My sons life has been saved by the professionals working with us. To all who read this, Latinos and all, we need to transcend the stigma to help our families. Busquen alluda con un professional medico. Si hay esperanza para un futuro brillante y una famila unida.

JUL, 29, 2016 09:12:45 AM
Rosita A. Kline, MSW
I wonder, if these two persos who left their comments, they will ever receive attention in their community. Hay grupos de apoyo para ellos donde puedan conversar y recibir apoyo? En que forma NAMI les da referencias de asistencia en sus comunidades?

JUL, 28, 2016 10:40:56 PM
Joseph Maxwell
I think this is so awesome of NAMI! Let's all follow their example and reach across the lines of race and color and all come together on this most critical of issues. To the Hispanic community, I wish all well.
God bless.

JUL, 25, 2016 08:19:54 PM
Jonathan Codorniu
I have a close relative who is very sick with a mental disorder. It's been very hard for my family and I but I really would like to find a solution to stability.

JUL, 25, 2016 03:13:49 PM
Eva Sanchez
I need help!!! My 52 years old daughter has problems, she is controlled and with medication. However, my life is a nightmare.
I need to talk to somebody. I would love with the Latino community.
Thank you

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