Laredo Health Department holds fair at new community center

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:07 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - A local library is transformed into a community center that was used as a health fair for residents of the Santa Rita Community.

The Laredo Health Department wants to make sure it provides several free services to its residents and mental health is no exception.

Community mental health program director Barbara Escamilla says we often ignore our mental health.

“We deal with stressors, anxieties, some of us experience depression and are living with depression but we don’t address it. We just assume that it will get better, but it won’t get better on its own”, said Escamilla.

The Santa Rita Center welcomed Juntos for Better Health on Thursday.

The program is pushing for people to consider mental health as important as physical health.

Cinthya Jimenez, the program coordinator for Juntos for Better Health says case workers do a mental health assessment.

“If their scores are high enough, we are able to refer them to our City of Laredo Health Department. We do offer counseling services there and telepsychiatry services there as well”, said Jimenez.

The Santa Rita Center is open Wednesdays and Fridays for community members of all ages. Residents can also come in and take advantage of the computers, WiFi and print whatever they need to.

The health department also offers traveling services Tuesdays and Thursdays across Laredo.

“Now, after the pandemic, it’s very important that we assess the needs. There is a lot of need out there in the community. It’s very important that we check ourselves”, said Jimenez.

Health experts remind the community about the services they offer and there should be no shame in seeking help.

“Sometimes because of our culture, or because we feel ashamed, or because maybe we’re to proud, or maybe we just don’t know, we don’t reach out. Sometimes we don’t know what resources we have”, said Escamilla.

The department says their counseling and telepsychiatry services are free.

Aside from mental health assistance, Juntos for Better Health also offers primary health screenings, and distributes food.

The Juntos Program says Thursday’s fair was a success.

They provided health assessments to 16 people and delivered 50 food baskets.

For more information on upcoming events click here.

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