MERIDEN — Rushford offers a bilingual and bicultural Latino Program for mental health and addiction treatment services.
The program includes a Spanish-speaking psychiatrist and outpatient programs. The Latino intensive group outpatient program is five days a week from 9 a.m. to noon. Another group outpatient program meets once a week for one hour.
The Rushford center, located on Paddock Avenue, offers a variety of outpatient programs and services to address issues of related to mental health and substance use disorders. It is affiliated with Hartford Healthcare.
Hipolito Villanueva Delgado, who has lived in state for 13 years, is a native from Aguada, Puerto Rico. Delgado has received services from Rushford Center’s Latino Program for several years.
“The Latino Program was very supportive. I haven’t found a place better than Rushford. I say this is like a family,” he said. “The Latino support groups have helped me communicate with others and socialize better. I was able to overcome a lot here.”
Delgado went through an initial intake and was then referred to the program.
“This was a big experience for me, to be able to know and experience a (program) like Rushford that is here for us, mainly for Hispanics. I was able to get what I needed and it met my expectations,” he said.
Paul Shaker, Latino Program clinician, has worked at Rushford for 11 years.
“We try to be as bicultural as possible, we try to meet the client where they’re at. We try to meet their customs, their traditions, their way of being. We know the importance of family and religions in the life of the client, and how they communicate with each other,” he said.
Amber Kelly, assistant professor of Social Work at Quinnipiac University, said the bilingual aspect of the program is crucial.
“We first relate with ourselves and others in our first language and to be able to have the opportunity for a therapeutic relationship in that first language to be able to process what is going on for us in that first language is invaluable,” Kelly said. “It is so difficult to do that in a second language where we are having to translate what we feel in our hearts into a second language. Even people who have a grasp for English, to be able to experience therapy in your first language is key to recovery.”
Employment services are also offered, along with case management and referrals for additional help from the state.
The Latino program is open to anyone, Call 877-577-3233 to schedule an intake appointment.