Yale Holds First Statewide Mental Health and Addictions Conference Entirely in Spanish

The Yale Department of Psychiatry in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill will hold a conference for the Spanish-speaking public on the latest developments in neuroscience relating to emotional disorders and addictions.

The conference “Let us Learn about Emotional Disorders and Addictions: Together We Erase the Stigma,” (“Aprendamos de Problemas Emocionales y Adicciones: Juntos Borramos el Estigma”) will be held on Saturday, October 6, from 8:30 to 3 p.m. at the Hill Regional Career High School, 140 Legion Avenue.

The conference is geared toward the Hispanic/Latino community, families and anyone interested in the subject. It includes breakfast, lunch and transportation, and there will be a live performance of Latino music. The presentations will be in Spanish without technical language. A workshop on the psychological reactions to disasters such as the September 11 attacks will be included. There will be a limited number of headsets for simultaneous translation into English.

Esperanza Diaz, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a coordinator of the conference, said the conference has been held yearly in English, but this is the first year it has been extended to the Spanish speaking population of Connecticut. “This is a great step in making the important advances in these areas of neuroscience accessible to Spanish speakers,” said Diaz.

Diaz said that, according to the United States Surgeon General’s report on Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity of August 2001, a constellation of barriers deter minorities from reaching treatment. Many of these barriers operate for all Americans: cost, fragmentation of services, lack of availability of services and social stigma toward mental illness. She said additional barriers deter racial and ethnic minorities. These include mistrust and fear of treatment, racism and discrimination and differences in language and communication.

To address these issues, the Yale Department of Psychiatry, in association with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, pioneered the development of a bilingual bicultural clinic called the Hispanic Clinic in 1974, which serves the New Haven community.

For more information about the conference, please call Esperanza Diaz at the Hispanic Clinic, 203-789-7815 or esperanza.diaz@yale.edu.

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Media Contact

Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326