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Latino Mental Health Outreach Campaign Expands to North Hills, Panorama City and Sun Valley

Latino Mental Health Outreach Campaign Expands to North Hills, Panorama City and Sun Valley
March 2, 2016 LaCLAve

La CLAVE, a pilot mental health outreach campaign which launched last year and is managed by the University of Southern California (USC) to help Spanish-speaking Latinos living in San Fernando, Sylmar and Pacoima identify the signs of serious mental illness and promptly seek professional care, has added three communities to its outreach efforts. The new communities include North Hills, Panorama City and Sun Valley.

“Our original intent was to focus our efforts in a few select cities, but the San Fernando Valley is a dynamic community and we quickly realized we needed to expand our service area to get this vital message out to more families,” said Dr. Steven R. Lopez, Director of La CLAVE, Professor of Psychology and Social Work at USC. “Latino immigrants are less likely than others to seek professional help when a loved one is showing the early signs of serious mental illness, which is why the La CLAVE campaign was created, to help Latinos recognize these signs and seek help quickly, when it can do the most good.”

Having access to conveniently located mental health services is a critical factor of the campaign, which is why La CLAVE partnered with the San Fernando Mental Health Center, which provides low-cost services to Los Angeles County residents. The campaign is implemented in Spanish and English and encourages people seeking help to visit or call the San Fernando Mental Health Center at (818) 832-2400 for mental health services.

La CLAVE is a mnemonic device in Spanish to aid the retention on how to detect the following symptoms of psychosis:

C    False beliefs or delusions/Creencias falsas o ideas delirantes

L    Disorganized speech/Lenguaje desorganizado

A    Hallucinations/Alucinaciones

Two examples of hallucinations are the following:

V    Seeing things that others do not see/Ver cosas que otros no ven

E      Hearing sounds or voices that others do not hear/Escuchar sonidos o voces que otros no escuchan

The La CLAVE campaign includes a team of bilingual outreach coordinators who are giving presentations and distributing information at local events and engaging directly with the community. To help further explain the symptoms of serious mental illness, La CLAVE also produced an award-winning 17-minute film in Spanish and English that is being shown at community events in the target cities.

“The goal of La CLAVE is to reduce the time it takes Latinos with serious mental illness to seek treatment,” said Dr. Alex Kopelowicz, Medical Director of the San Fernando Mental Health Center.  “We want to let people know our center is right here in the San Fernando Valley ready to help when they need us.”

Results from the La CLAVE pilot project will serve as a model for future mental health outreach campaigns targeting Latinos. The project will run through the end of 2018 with results to be publicly shared to maximize the opportunities for public, community-based, and private-sector organizations to obtain and use.

For more information about the La CLAVE campaign visit |Facebook: |Twitter: @UseLaCLAVE