Center City, Minn. (March 2, 2022) – Empathy and connection are at the heart of addiction treatment and recovery, but for too many, language is a barrier to receiving effective care—an imperative which pushed the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to expand its Minnesota mental health and substance use disorder treatment services to people whose sole or primary language is Spanish.
As the addiction crisis slogs on, the need exists: Despite the fact that the United States has the second largest population of Spanish speakers in the world—in Minnesota alone, nearly 200,000 people speak Spanish at home1—Spanish language, Twelve Step-oriented outpatient treatment programs are almost nonexistent.
With language and culture inextricably intertwined, Hazelden Betty Ford's Spanish services will differ from the English versions in both language and content, delving into topics such as stigma, family roles, immigration, acculturation and generational trauma through a culturally responsive lens to best meet the needs of Latinx and Hispanic patients.
"La familia lo es todo para nosotros: Family is everything for us in the Latinx community," said Outpatient Treatment Program Manager Manuel Garcia, who helped create the culturally and linguistically sensitive services, which are currently available virtually to people throughout Minnesota and may also become available in-person at a later date. He notes that the new intensive outpatient program (IOP) and mental health services join other Spanish-language offerings from Hazelden Betty Ford, including an educational and support program for families—accessible everywhere at no cost right in the home, regardless if one's family member is in treatment; a Children's Program; and a roster of recovery-oriented supportive literature from Hazelden Publishing.
"Our commitment is to ensure that Spanish speakers are able to access and participate in all that we offer," continued Garcia. "Now we can reach so many more people in a language that's most comfortable to them, which removes one giant barrier to asking for and receiving the help that can be so instrumental to recovery—an opportunity everyone deserves."
"We're trying to help create more access points to resources, and to build equitable care," added Joseph Lee, MD, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation president and CEO. "Not only opening up, but truly tailoring, our services to the thousands of Spanish-speaking Minnesotans is the next right step to bringing hope and healing to more people and families—and to becoming an organization that is of service to people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds in ways that make sense to their cultures."
Following the Minnesota launch, plans call for expanding Spanish IOP services across the country.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient addiction and mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has treatment centers and telehealth services nationwide as well as a network of collaborators throughout health care. Through charitable support and a commitment to innovation, the Foundation is able to continually enhance care, research, programs and services, and help more people. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its services and throughout the organization, which also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction. Learn more at HazeldenBettyFord.org and on Twitter.