Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers launched an initiative Feb. 8 to offer remote counseling to community members experiencing coronavirus-related mental health issues.

The initiative will connect community members dealing with fear, anxiety, depression and other coronavirus-related mental health issues to limited, temporary therapy. A group of linguistically and culturally competent mental health clinicians will provide the counseling and ensure clients have access to health care providers and psychiatrists if needed.

“As we approach a full year of Covid-19 isolation, our staff report that many of our clients are suffering,” said Paulo Pinto, executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers. “Many are overwhelmed with stress and trauma due to illness, deaths of loved ones, loss of jobs and income or lack of support due to immigration status. It is our responsibility to do everything we can do to provide some relief.”

“It is more important than ever that we do not neglect our mental health,” said Ana Nava, a mental health clinician at Cambridge Health Alliance who has joined the community initiative. “We want to encourage our friends in the community who are struggling to reach out if they need help or someone to listen to their experiences.”

Community members who need help or someone to talk to about their experience are encouraged to call (617) 864-7600 to schedule a free and confidential appointment. Services will be provided remotely, via phone or other electronic devices. This initiative is funded by the Fish Family Foundation, the Social Equity Access Fund and the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance.

MAPS has served the Portuguese-speaking communities of Massachusetts and others since 1970. The organization offers a wide range of free health and social services through its six offices in Cambridge, Somerville, Brighton, Dorchester, Framingham and Lowell. To learn more about MAPS, visit