What is Testimonios?
In Spanish, “testimonio” means to declare and affirm. We are establishing support groups (called Testimonios) for Latino immigrants in Baltimore experiencing stress. During Testimonios group meetings, which will be moderated by a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, participants will describe their immigration experiences, and put a voice to their strengths and stressors. Our goal is to reduce stress and improve wellness among Latino immigrants by providing a safe place to share experiences and to promote culturally-appropriate approaches to stress reduction.
Demographic changes have outpaced Baltimore´s capacity to provide culturally and linguistically competent services to a rapidly growing Latino immigrant community. Mental health services are particularly difficult to access due to lack of insurance, and a scarcity of Spanish-proficient mental health providers. Moreover, stressors associated with the migration experience place immigrants at high risk for chronic anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. In addition to economic hardship (which is often the inciting factor leading to migration), immigrants face isolation, separation from family and friends, discrimination due to ethnicity and legal status, and violence (in their country of origin, during transit to the U.S., and in Baltimore).
Through Testimonios we want to capitalize on the resilience of Latino migrants who, despite countless obstacles, have settled in Baltimore. Utilizing personal storytelling, Testimonios participants discuss challenges and opportunities, and in particular, highlight personal and community strengths that can empower them to affect change.
Participation: Any Latino immigrant ≥ 18 years of age who is experiencing stress can participate in Testimonios. Testimonios sessions are held separately for men and women.
Supervision: Each Testimonios meeting is moderated by a licensed psychiatrist and a psychotherapist from JHU fluent in Spanish.
Time: Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., alternating groups for men and women
Location: Gallery Church, 3115 Eastern Avenue (at the corner of Ellwood and Eastern).
Child Supervision: Participants can bring their own children to Testimonios sessions. Children are be supervised by volunteers in an adjacent room. They participate in structured activities (e.g. homework groups, story time, arts and crafts) and are provided a simple meal.
Participation is free. Dinner is provided to participants, moderators, and their children
Download the 2018-2019 Testimonios flyer here.