It is estimated that as many as 15,000 Yucatec Mayans and other Indígena/Maya/ Yucateca communities live in San Francisco. Indígena Health and Wellness (IHW) works to improve the health and well-being of Indígena families in San Francisco and increase their access to health and social services.
Our goal is to create and foster opportunities for emotional and spiritual healing, and promote wellness among Indígena families. Our program reflects the importance of language, culture, and tradition as powerful generators of health and wellness. These activities also create opportunities for early identification and intervention for families struggling to overcome trauma, depression, addictions, and other health and mental health concerns.
Program services and activities provided by the Indígena Health & Wellness Collaborative are intricately linked to honoring the customs and traditions of the Indigena as a means of diminishing cultural isolation and enhancing their cultural resilience. We offer the following services and activities:
- Case Management: IHW provides case management for the Indigena community to obtain necessary services, referrals, and linkages to support their health, safety, and well-being, as well as to assist them to reach their personal, educational, workforce, and other goals.
- Wellness Promotion: Spiritual ceremonies and cultural activities provide opportunities to inform, educate, and engage the Indigena. IHW utilizes its wide network of relationships with traditional healers and community-based groups to integrate health promotion and risk reduction messages into traditional celebrations, ceremonies and other cultural activities. Community forums are organized to stimulate dialogue about individual, collective, and historical trauma among Indigena families.
- Cultural Events/Group Activities: IHWC supports various traditional ceremonies and other cultural practices and activities taking place in the community. Providing outreach, materials, and organizational assistance, among the events IHW supports are: Dia de Los Muertos, Tonantzin, Fiesta de Colores, Mayahuel, and Año Nuevo Maya, among others. Group activities include El Encuentro de Culturas Indigenas de America, a large gathering of Indigena cultural groups; and Salud y Bienestar, an event focused on providing tools to deal with trauma. IHW also provides Information & Referral and Early Identification services for gathering participants.
- Outreach and Engagement: IHW conducts street and venue-based outreach in neighborhoods and locales where local Indigena frequent. Outreach efforts are used to introduce Indigena to available programs and resources available to them and their families.
- Early Identification, Intervention, and Individual & Family Therapy: IHW provides referrals to Early Intervention consultation & mental health services. Individual interventions may include risk reduction counseling, crisis intervention and linkage to needed services. Indigena clients may also receive crisis intervention, mental health referrals, and Information & Referral.
- Indigena Health Promotores (Promoters): Indigena community peer Health Promotors are trained and mentored by professional staff. Promotores play a key role in recruitment and engagement of participants to attend ceremonies and cultural events, workshops, community forums and the Encuentro de Culturas Indigenas de America. In addition to providing outreach and support services, Promotores co-facilitate workshops and community forums.
Greatest Impacts of the Past Year
Mayan interpreting: With continuous changes to federal immigration policy, detentions, and family separations, there was an increased and urgent need for individuals who could speak various Mayan and other indigenous dialects. Three of Indigena's talented staff were able to provide interpretation services to assist multiple clients in court hearings or who needed support.
What IHW is doing in Response to COVID-19
Mask-making: Indigena staff began making masks as a short project. Soon, staff and clients wanted them because they were so well-made, safe, and beautiful. There was a great need for masks in the Latino community. As of mid-July, Indigena has made and given free homemade masks to approximately 500 individuals.
Increasing Visibility of the Indigena in the Media: When Latinxs overall are experiencing high transmission of COVID-19, it's easy for the Indigena to get ignored in those numbers. IHW worked to change this with increased media coverage in Telemundo 48. Check out their interview! Recursos para la comunidad indigena durante la pandemia
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