Processing Trauma: Community Wellness Program at Saint Anthony Hospital
Patricia**, a middle-aged Mexican female, first learned about the free mental health services offered through BPNN partner Saint Anthony Hospital during a presentation at the neighborhood school where she volunteered.
Almost a year after the presentation, Patricia reached out to initiate services. Her son had recently informed her that he identifies as gay, and although Patricia wanted to be accepting and emotionally supportive, she had heard many negative stereotypes that led her to struggle internally with her son’s coming out. Through the safe space that Patricia’s mental health therapist created, Patricia was able to process her feelings of guilt regarding her son’s coming out story and freely ask questions about her son’s sexual orientation. Her mental health therapist provided psychoeducation about the LGBTQ community so that Patricia was equipped with the information that she needed to be fully emotionally available with her son. Not only has Patricia been able to dismantle the negative stereotypes and overcome her internal struggles related to her son’s sexual orientation, but she also participates in social engagements with her son’s partner. Furthermore, as Patricia developed a trusting relationship with her mental health therapist, she began to disclose experiences of trauma from her childhood that have had a long-lasting impact on her interpersonal relationships. Within the therapeutic space, Patricia has been able to process these experiences of trauma, reframe how she views herself, and forgive those who harmed her in her childhood so that she can move forward with her healing.
As Patricia continues on her healing journey, she has recognized the importance of caring for herself and is exploring the possibility of pursuing classes or a part-time job that will allow her to recognize and develop her personal interests. Patricia’s story is a testament to the power of a relationally-focused approach to service delivery in facilitating opportunities for long-term healing from trauma.
**Names have been changed for privacy reasons.
Learn more about Saint Anthony Hospital's Community Wellness program at https://sahchicago.org/community-outreach.