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Latino Behavioral Health Services Doubles Client Capacity with New Facility


Sep 11, 2023

Latino Behavioral Health Services, a nonprofit organization, has made significant progress in bridging the gap in mental health services for Utah’s Hispanic population. However, due to the small size of their facilities, the organization was previously limited in the number of clients it could serve. With their new, larger facility on the first floor of 3269 S. Main in Salt Lake City, Latino Behavioral Health can now serve about double the number of clients they previously had.

The organization offers mental health services such as counseling, peer support groups, and classes in English, Spanish, and Portuguese for both children and adults. The majority of their clients are Spanish-speaking, under- or uninsured, housing insecure, and unemployed. Teresa Molina, the Board Chairwoman and co-founder, established the nonprofit to address the lack of mental health services available to the Latino community. She saw the urgent need for better health services and recognized that a significant portion of the state’s population is Latino, making it necessary to have providers who can communicate effectively in Spanish.

According to Javier Alegre, the Executive Director, the new office provides about 2.5 times the amount of square footage compared to their previous space. It also has several different rooms that allow employees to provide various types of services simultaneously, which was not possible before. To encourage clients to connect with one another, the new space features two living room areas, a kitchen, and a dining room table. The walls are decorated with maps of different Latin American countries and a handmade tapestry, while the youth room displays posters of characters from the Disney movie “Inside Out.” Alegre emphasized the importance of creating a space that represents the community and is welcoming to all.

The commitment of Latino Behavioral Health to provide language-specific and culturally responsive services is reflected in the new facility’s design. Many of their clients find receiving care in their native language that is culturally relevant to be essential. Molina shared the story of her co-founder, Jacqueline Gomez-Arias, who struggled for years until she began receiving peer support in Spanish. For her, accessing services in her native language made a significant difference and empowered her to thrive.

While the new facility is a significant accomplishment, Alegre expressed concerns about their capacity to meet the increasing demand. The organization is already experiencing a two-month waitlist, which is much shorter than the six- to nine-month wait with public sector healthcare providers. However, Alegre anticipates that wait times may increase as more people become aware of the organization’s increased capacity. Despite these challenges, Latino Behavioral Health remains dedicated to providing accessible and culturally appropriate mental health services to the Latino community.

For more information about Latino Behavioral Health Services, visit their website.

By Editor

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