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Vol 57 No. 3 | Feb. 2005
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Latino Mental Health Summit Set for Feb. 16 at Cal State Long Beach

The College of Health and Human Services at CSULB will host the Latino Mental Health Summit on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the campus' University Student Union.

The summit, which is free and open to the public, is being held in collaboration with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Eli Lilly and Company, who provided the funding for the event. NCLR is the largest Latino advocacy organization in the United States serving more than 4 million Latinos annually.

The Latino Mental Health Summit will bring leading researchers in crucial areas of Latino mental health to present their work at CSULB. "We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with CSULB and host researchers of this caliber on the campus, as well as to facilitate student and community exposure to their work," said Carlos Ugarte, vice president of health at NCLR.

The focus of the summit is to work toward the development of a white paper to further the nation's domestic agenda regarding the mental health status and access issues facing the Latino population. The purpose of a white paper is to provide the substance politicians and policy makers need to further legislation and political efforts on a given issue.

Among the topics of the lectures and break-out sessions that will be offered are: "Latinos and Depression," "Latino Mental Health and Chemical Use and Dependency," "Latino Mental Health and Co-Morbidity," "Latino Mental Health, Immigration and Acculturation," "Latino Mental Health and Domestic Violence" and "Latinos and Suicide."

"The Latino suicide has risen dramatically in the past four years. One alarming research finding is that approximately one-third of Latina adolescents experience suicide ideation," said Britt Rios-Ellis, director of the NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training at Cal State Long Beach. "The Surgeon General's Call to Action on Suicide states that the system of mental health currently in place fails to provide for the vast majority of Latinos, through its lack of access to mental health services, as well as a dearth of culturally and linguistically relevant care.

"Less than 1 percent of the licensed psychologists report being Spanish speaking and one study found only 20 Latino mental health providers for every 100,000 Latinos in the United States. Recent events in Los Angeles attest to the consequences of not addressing these needs," she added. "It is the hope of all the organizations involved in this effort that the result will lead to greater understanding of the multifaceted mental health needs of the Latino community and the implementation of new culturally and linguistically relevant models and approaches."

While admission to the summit is free, an RSVP is necessary to reserve a spot. To RSVP, contact Rocio Leon at 562/544-7191 or e-mail her at rleon@nclr.org . Those who RSVP should identify the break-out session of their choice and the time frame of their attendance if they are unable to stay for the full conference.

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