Ferreras Counseling & Wellness Center, a minority, family-owned and operated, fully bilingual mental health clinic, recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening of their new location in Jamaica Plain.
The Jamaica Plain center joins the Ferreras Counseling & Wellness family clinics in Lawrence and Lynn to respond to the growing need for mental and behavioral health services in the underserved communities of Greater Boston.
“Cultural and ethnic minorities face unique discrimination and risk in seeking mental healthcare,” said Founder & CEO Dr. Maria Ferreras-Mendez, a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), with a Ph.D. in Psychology Christian World Views. “We understand that mental disorders and substance abuse can affect women and men differently. But, for people of color and Latinos, there are cultural and linguistic barriers that can prevent them from getting the help they need by culturally and racially aware clinicians. Ferreras provides over 30 caring clinicians who are predominantly bilingual to help individuals and families of all walks of life overcome extraordinary challenges to thrive.”
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, people of color and Latinos receive less treatment but also inadequate treatment. There are several contributing factors including: poverty gap, racism, stigma, lack of language skills, and minority underrepresentation in the mental health field. Approximately 83% of the workforce is white where comparatively, only 5% were Latinos, Asians represented 5% and African Americans just 4%, reports the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2019, Ferreras-Mendez set out to change that trajectory by opening her first clinic in Lawrence, MA. with a bilingual staff and clinicians. Currently in three locations, Ferreras provides counseling and therapy programs from the early ages of 2-3 years old to the elderly population. The centers have the capacity to work with all mental health issues including diagnosis of trauma, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and substance abuse among others. In addition, English and Spanish speaking group sessions are offered on substance abuse (including alcohol), psycho-education, and domestic violence and prevention group for men and women in English/Spanish.