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

About twelve parents of school aged children and adolescents gathered at Pope John XXIII School at Saint Nicholas Parish in Evanston, IL for a presentation in Spanish titled “How Discrimination and Racism Impact our Families and Community”.  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 informed the parents about various topics related to discrimination and racism.  One of the areas covered was how institutional racism and discrimination including anti-immigrant laws negatively impact Latino communities.  Another interesting topic was the explanation of how being victimized by racial microaggressions and covert forms of racism can lead to mental health problems.  The presenters provided the parents examples of how they can confront racism related stressors with the support of family, community and with the help of a mental health provider.

The second part of the presentation consisted of a free flowing animated discussion.  The parents asked many questions, especially regarding general mental health issues.  One father was interested in learning more about anxiety related mental health issues and stress management.  Many parents were concerned in obtaining more information about the etiology of diverse mental health issues in order to prevent them from occurring.  All of the parents in attendance mentioned having benefited by their participation and discussion of numerous mental health topics.  At the end of the presentation, the parents were given informational handouts.  The next presentation is scheduled for April, 2016.