El Futuro’s Annual Fall Fundraiser and Art Auction “Expresiones”, is scheduled for September 30th from 6:30-11 p.m. at The Rickhouse in downtown Durham. This annual event unites local Latino businesses, artists, and community members in a cultural celebration to raise funds and resources that help El Futuro continue to provide culturally effective mental health services to our Latino community to nurture stronger familias.

There will be a live and silent auction featuring local Latino artists, Mexican-American cuisine from Azteca Grill and music from Luna Nightclub. We invite donors and organizations that support our work, to join us for a night of fun, expression, and live music. The theme of the event will bring together the colorful national birds and flowers of Latin America, as well as our logo of colorful sunflower petals that embodies the diverse Latin American cultures that come together with hope and happiness.

This is El Futuro’s third year hosting Expresiones and 19th year of service to the community and this year El Futuro celebrates all the funders, donors, and supporters who have helped grow the mental health services in our Latino community. El Futuro is closing the gaps of disparities between the Latino culture and mental health services by breaking down barriers to care and offering culturally competent services such as; a therapeutic garden, family-centric care, late work hours to accommodate farm workers, bilingual and bicultural staff, and traditional festivities such as the Kermes festival that provides a space to celebrate the Latino culture.

Studies have shown that culturally competent care offers better results. According to Nielsen-Bohlman et al., “Cultural beliefs affect how people think and feel about their health and health problems, when and from whom they seek health care, and how they respond to recommendations for lifestyle change, health-care interventions, and treatment adherence.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that the Latino population experiences many barriers to accessing mental health care; some include; poverty, lack of insurance, legal status, stigma, and lack of cultural competence. These barriers prevent Latinos from accessing mental health services and receiving treatment. You can see why El Futuro has had so much success in delivering culturally effective care, and the Latino community is more willing and able to receive treatment from El Futuro. Quoting Dr. Luke Smith, the Executive Director at El Futuro, “Each person deserves access to restorative mental health services regardless of their background or ability to pay.”

El Futuro has created a safe, culturally acceptable environment where the Latino community can express themselves, thus achieving better mental health for their families and communities. Reconnecting to one’s heritage, traditions, and cultural values brings a sense of safety, belonging, and resiliency, allowing one to flourish and thrive. With improved mental health, Latinos are encouraged to dream bigger, reach higher, and accomplish their goals for better jobs, education, health, and roles in our society. The entire community benefits from helping the Latino population because the result is a prosperous community.

Article written by Candy Moreira BSN RN

* Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Health Literacy, Nielsen-Bohlman, L., Panzer, A. M., & Kindig, D. A. (Eds.). (2004). Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. National Academies Press (US).