Since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago, more and more people are talking about behavioral health issues including loneliness, social isolation, and emotional changes. An increasing number of folks are starting to see mental health for what it is: one important component of your overall health and well-being, just like your physical health. However, having a conversation about mental health conditions, and reaching out for resources and supports can still feel complicated and out of reach.
Are there common warning signs for mental health conditions or crises? Are there specific factors that can lead to changes in mood or behaviors that may negatively affect someone’s well-being? What resources are out there – and how do I know if they are right for me?
The Mystic Valley Elder Services Mental Health Outreach Program is here to help. This new grant-funded initiative is available to Spanish-speaking residents of Malden, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere who are 60 years of age or older. Spanish-speaking older adults are often confronted with unique barriers to receiving assistance but this new program is here to help. The Mental Health Outreach Program offers person-centered, strength-based mental health assistance from bilingual staff who will help support Spanish-speaking older adults to maintain independence and dignity. Our bilingual Mental Health Outreach Worker Ignacia Urquijo can:
• assess, refer, and provide timely assistance to older adults in need or distress • evaluate Spanish speaking older adults’ needs for support in the community • help older adults seek and navigate behavioral health care services and treatment • work with health care partners to identify and refer older adults who may be at-risk • connect older adults to additional programs and services that may benefit them
If you are concerned about your mental health, or someone you love, there are options available. You are not alone – speaking with someone can make a difference. The new program is funded through a grant awarded to the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs and support from Winchester Hospital- a member of Beth Israel Lahey Health. Here are some questions to consider if you think you, or a friend/loved one, may benefit from speaking with our new Spanish-Speaking Mental Health Outreach Worker.
• Have things that used to feel easy started feeling difficult? • Does the idea of doing daily tasks like making your bed now feel really, really hard? • Have you lost interest in activities and hobbies you used to enjoy? • Do you feel irritated; possibly to the point of lashing out at people you care about? • Are you feeling increased sadness or worry lately? • Have you been nervous or experiencing more stress these days? • Do you feel lonelier these days? Have you lost interest in activities you used to enjoy?
To learn more about the bilingual Mental Health Outreach Program or to make a referral, call 781-324-7705 or email us at [email protected]. About Mystic Valley Elder Services Celebrating 45 Years of giving older adults their independence, Mystic Valley Elder Services is a non-profit agency located in Malden, Mass., that provides essential home- and community-based care and resources to older adults, adults living with disabilities, and caregivers who reside in Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Revere, Stoneham, Wakefield and Winthrop, regardless of their income level. Agency services include coordination of home care, transportation, Meals on Wheels, and information and referrals. For more information, please call (781) 324-7705 or visit www.mves.org.