Pope John XXIII School at Saint Nicholas Parish in Evanston, IL- Mental Health Education

About fifteen parents of school aged children and adolescents along with other interested adults gathered at Pope John XXIII School at Saint Nicholas Parish in Evanston, IL for a presentation in Spanish titled “Latino Families: The Impact of our Cultural Differences ”.  The presenters were Dr. Gregory Benson-Flórez, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology along with Erika Garcia and Concepción Marín, graduate students also at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  The presenters created an open environment to allow for a free flowing discussion.  Many interesting topics were part of the discussion.  The cultural diversity and heterogeneity among Latinos was one of them.  Most of the adults that formed part of the discussion were originally from Mexico and commented on the regional diversity within Mexico and how it is important to be mindful and respectful of these cultural differences.  One of the most important aspects of the discussion was to emphasize the importance of understanding the various viewpoints that family members may have in order to increase positive communication.  Another cultural value discussed was how the adults could instill in their children the important value of respecting their elders.

The adults present participated in an animated discussion and were especially interested in identifying ways to improve relationships with their children and how to relieve parental stress.  A mother highlighted the importance of daily physical exercise, which helps her not only physically but also emotionally and mentally.  Other adults mentioned finding spiritual activities to reduce stress.  A father stated that he planned on taking his family on a vacation outside of the city for a few days.  The discussion was also focused on helping parents support their children through ethnic socialization practices.  This was a popular topic as the parents were given a few tips on how to help their children attain a healthy ethnic identity.  At the end of the presentation there was a question and answer session and the adults were also given informational handouts.  The next presentation is scheduled for Saturday, November 21, 2015.