What Your Patients are Hearing

For Latino patients, mental illness often goes untreated


Bill Reilly is the peer support program manager for Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center in Douglas County, Kan. His mental health troubles began in childhood and led to stints in alcohol rehabilitation and mental hospitals, and he tried to end his life several times. But Mr. Reilly now offers his experience to those in trouble. “Those [experiences] can be viewed as a negative until you turn that conversation around and ask, ‘How can this be helpful to another person?’ And to me, that’s where the urgency comes into the work that we’re doing because a clinical relationship is one thing, but a peer support relationship is something different.” He was speaking in support of an initiative that seeks to train and place peer support people in hospital emergency departments in Kansas. The initiative is being spearheaded by Bob Tryanski, Douglas County director of behavioral health projects. “In addition to giving folks the opportunity to have the work experience in an environment where we need peer support, we would wrap around those peers with training, professional development, with coaching and support in an ongoing way,” Mr. Tryanski said, “so that they could become real, robust, huge resources, not just to the emergency department but in our community.” If approved, hiring and training of peers would begin in April, with the goal of having six people in place in emergency rooms by the summer and hiring an additional six people by year end. LJWorld.com.

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