Two new mental health initiatives offered to underserved communities

Posted3/14/2022 9:53 AM

For too long, lack of information and stigma about mental health issues have been barriers that prevent the underrepresented African American and Latinx communities from getting the mental health support they need for mental wellness.

As a NAMI National launch partner, NAMI Illinois is providing resources, preparing facilitators, and gathering feedback to help NAMI local affiliates and community-based organizations to provide mental health awareness, support, education, and resources to these underserved communities.


To address these needs, NAMI has launched two sister programs -- Sharing Hope (led by and exclusively for African American community) and Compartiendo Esperanza (led by and exclusively for Latinx community).

Sharing Hope and Compartiendo Esperanza is a three-part short video series that explores the journey of mental wellness in African American communities and Latinx communities respectively through dialogue, storytelling, and a guided discussion on the following topics: Youth and Mental Wellness, Community Leaders and Mental Wellness, Families and Mental Wellness.

For more information about these initiatives and the upcoming initiative in the Asian American and Pacific Islander and deaf and hard of hearing communities, please contact NAMI Illinois, Equity and Inclusion Director, Laura Martinez at

"NAMI-KDK is proud to be part of this initiative at the local level. It is our belief that representation matters. NAMI understands that the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, language, class, gender, and sexuality impacts an individual's mental health journey," said Sara Grey, NAMI Kane-South, DeKalb, and Kendall Counties executive director.

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The first Compartiendo Esperanza session will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 17, in the board room at the Aurora Public Library's Santori Library, 101 S River St. in Aurora. This session will be facilitated by writer/author and certified facilitator Fermina Ponce. It will be only for the Latinx community and it will be in Spanish.

The Sharing Hope initiative will be scheduled soon.

To learn more or get involved, contact Sara Gray or visit

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