Taking a closer look at mental health among the Hispanic population in Michiana

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. --Groups in Michiana are putting mental health first for many Hispanic immigrants especially in Elkhart County. 

The Mental Health Summit brought together experts, advocates and community members, helping more than 150 people. 

The central focus was to deepen understanding of the mental health needs among Hispanic immigrants in the South Bend-Elkhart region. 

Over the past two decades, Elkhart County has seen a significant demographic shift, with its Hispanic population doubling from 9% to 18% by 2023 and ranking second in Indiana for its Hispanic population, making up 18% of the total population.  

According to the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition, many immigrants have experienced trauma during their immigration journey. Upon arrival, they are provided with little to no guidance or support.   

At the recent Mental Health Summit, Liliana Quintero, Executive Director of the NIHHC, shared her research on how mental health impacts youth in Elkhart County.  

The research unveiled the key stressors impacting immigrant middle and high school youth in Goshen and Elkhart community schools: problems with education, loud noises, and isolation alongside the challenges of adapting to a new culture. 

Bienvenido, a youth program, is actively addressing the issue. Serving as an acculturation program, its aim is to ease the acculturation process for new youth immigrants, empowering them with practical mental health knowledge and fostering a greater sense of belonging and community participation.  

Quintero emphasizes that progress can only be achieved when everyone plays a role in welcoming community members. 

For those who could not be present, the full summit schedule and recordings of all sessions can be accessed here

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