The National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health is an outgrowth of the New Jersey Mental Health Institute’s (NJMHI’s) award-winning and nationally and internationally recognized Changing Minds, Advancing Mental Health for Hispanics program. The National Center was established in October of 2006.

A Bit of Background

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies, Inc. (www.njamha.org) founded the New Jersey Mental Health Institute (NJMHI, www.njmhi.org) in July 2000 as a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Since its inception, NJMHI has grown dramatically, receiving national and international recognition for various projects.

Changing Minds…
One of the first projects spearheaded by NJMHI was Changing Minds, Advancing Mental Health for Hispanics.  This comprehensive project involved PSA’s regarding Depression and Mental Health targeted to Hispanic audiences, a bilingual quarterly newsletter, the Hispanic Higher Education Scholarship fund, an array of trainings, technical assistance, an Annual Awards Dinner/Fundraiser recognizing the leaders in Hispanic Mental Health and countless other efforts all with the goal of addressing the nationwide lack of access to and the provision of quality mental health services to Hispanics, and with heightening awareness, acceptance and understanding of mental illness among the Hispanic population.

As the project grew, it soon became apparent that the need for these services is much larger in scope than anyone had realized.  The Changing Minds project expanded to national and international audiences.  The Director of the project soon found himself conducting workshops across the country, even as far away as Argentina and Egypt.  In addition, he was being asked to serve in numerous roles by state and national entities.  It was at this point that NJMHI decided to also establish itself as a national entity in order to more effectively address the disparities facing Hispanics in need of mental health care.

The National Center is Born
The National Center is operated under the auspices of NJMHI with the guidance of a National Board of Advisors (click here for the list of advisors and their bios).  The National Center and NJMHI share a common mission, with the distinction between the National Center and NJMHI being that the National Center focuses exclusively on the Hispanic population, and works on a national and international scale. The mission of the organization is to promote quality mental health services through policy development initiatives, training, technical assistance, research, data collection, best practice development, and anti-stigma and anti-discrimination campaigns.

To date, the National Center has accomplished much in each of its four strategic goal areas.  Such accomplishments include:
Providing culturally competent resources:

  • conducted and published comprehensive literature review of Hispanic mental health issues.
  • developed patient education materials, disease fact sheets, etc. for depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and others.
  • created and distributed a state multi-cultural resource directory (electronic database, web site and hard copy for public and professional usage).
  • created and distributed nationwide bilingual newsletter.
  • created and distributed mental health cultural competency manual for agency administrators and direct service providers; facilitated or supported use in states including New Jersey, California, Texas and Oregon…

Developing best practice programs:

  • conducted analysis of access barriers and best practice solutions, creating a model of best practices for mental health services delivery to Hispanic-Latino Americans.
  • developed and implemented plans to drive tens of thousands of patients into treatment.
  • established NJ NAMI Spanish Family-to-Family caregivers program; provide guidance and technical assistance on how to successfully establish this program in other states.
  • established scholarship funds to increase Hispanic mental health professionals.

Delivering effective training:

  • conducted training workshops for thousands of clinicians.
  • developed training for health agency administrators.
  • created and distributed a mental health service delivery training video.
  • hosted a Hispanic mental health summit; presented and trained at national/international conferences.
  • provided technical assistance to support both professionals and consumers.

Institutionalizing systems for access and eliminating disparities:

  • implemented several award winning, multi-million dollar, multi-media, public education campaigns, which generated more greater than 30 million anti-stigma/anti-discrimination media impressions.
  • developed a Hispanic-Latino mental health personnel attraction/retention plan.
  • created multiple public recommendations reports and positions.
  • participated and led numerous government boards and task forces.
  • trained and advised state executives, agency leadership and private health care organizations.

The National Center is proud of the work that the Changing Minds project and the National Center have accomplished, and looks forward to utilizing the National Center to help individuals and organization overcome barriers to giving and receiving the help they need. The National Center is grateful to all of our donors and funders who have given us the opportunity to help others.

Be a Part of History
The National Center invites you to be a member of our family of supporters and we welcome the opportunity to further improve the provision of mental health and behavioral health services to the nation’s Hispanic community.

Together, we can Change Minds, Advance Knowledge and Transform Lives.