CSUN professor Alejandra Acuña and her second-year students in the master of social work (MSW) program have launched a bilingual YouTube channel addressing mental health and wellbeing in Latinx communities.
The YouTube videos are found on the channel “Promotores de Bienestar Mental” (“Promoters of Mental Wellbeing”). The channel features content by and for social work students and professionals working with Spanish-speaking individuals and families.
The videos cover important topics, such as identifying and addressing anxiety and panic attacks, which are commonly experienced by students. Other topics including treatment planning for couples therapy and the proper way to engage an individual that has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
“The Spanish-speaking community is vulnerable and underserved in many areas, including mental health services,” Acuña said. “Misunderstanding and stigma related to mental health and wellbeing still exists among many communities, including the Latinx community.”Acuña was awarded a grant from CSUN’s Office of Community Engagement to fund the YouTube channel. Overall, the channel has displayed positive results, with some videos helping nearly 200 or more viewers, with many of the topics proving to be a helpful resource relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some of the videos adopt a cartoon animation style like in “Panic Attacks Identification and Support,” others display students teaching social workers viable skills in the workplace through role play, such as how to assess clients and begin treatment planning.
The project, a new assignment created by Acuña for second-year MSW students in her Advanced Practice with Urban Families II course, affords students the opportunity to use their scholarship and clinical skills to reach and engage the Latinx community.
Alejandro Castro, a recent MSW program graduate, was hired by Acuña as her student scholar for the project and took on multiple roles that included helping his classmates upload their videos, promoting the YouTube channel and assisting with subtitle translations.
“We live in uncertain times, and having these videos as a resource will be beneficial and empowering to our community members, family, friends and clients to learn how they can manage feelings of anxiety,” Castro said. “I think it also helps normalize common feelings of fight or flight and lets people know that their feelings and experiences are valid.”