I had the good fortune to attend the Mental Health Alliance National Conference whose focus this year was on Next Gen Prevention and from the moment I walked into the room, I knew that El Futuro is not alone in our work to nurture stronger familias.

The conference was full of creative, innovative, resilient, and real people improving mental health for all, and acknowledging the critical role mental health plays not just in our individual lives, but in our community’s overall wellness.

Some of the highlights of the conference were:
The Spirit and Mind Taskforce at Mental Health America which is acknowledging the role that our cultural values and spiritual traditions have in building our emotional wellness.
Presentations from The Anxious Mind podcast and the Center for Public Integrity’s Mental Health Collaborative and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy who is sounding the alarm about the role of social isolation on worsening mental health systems and what we can do to support youth and others in busting this isolation.

Posters and forums by companies like Biogen who are looking for better neurological pathways for anti-depressant medications.
And especially, the emphasis across the board on listening to those with lived experience. As one speaker said, we have to rely on “those who know best about what helps, what harms, and what heals.”

Perhaps most importantly, as El Futuro seeks to enhance mental health promotion, prevent and treatment for Latino Adolescents and Young Adults (LAYA) at El Futuro, I was inspired by MHA’s focus on youth leadership, especially the voices of Jose Caballero from Nicaragua and Mariama Bah, originally from Guinea and now living right here in the Triangle!

Conferences like this one are important to remind ourselves that there are many people, organizations, and companies that are dedicated to improving mental health. We are not alone! Thank you for helping to ensure that El Futuro be a part of this wide web of wellness.

With gratitude,