The president's rhetoric and long wait times on international bridges has affected the mental health of some living on both sides of the border.

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One in five adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. That translates to more than 43 million people who may or may not seek help.

On Thursday Oct. 18, 2018, community leaders, residents and health professionals gathered for the 4th annual El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium Summit. The event was sponsored by the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

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The Mental and Emotional Well-Being (MEWB) Community is composed of academics, practitioners, administrators, students/trainees, policy makers, and other stakeholders invested in reducing the prevalence of mental illness and promoting mental and emotional well-being in the Paso del Norte region.

The primary purpose of the community is to cultivate a professional, binational, interdisciplinary, MEWB network that engages in informed and meaningful collaborations. By coordinating face-to-face dialogues and utilizing digital platforms that host data and resource sharing, this community of practice will act as a catalyst to empower the broader community to facilitate change in the health of the region.

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Miners Empower Change, a collaboration between multiple Registered Student Organizations at the University of Texas at El Paso and Empower Change,  — recently participated in the NAMI Walks El Paso event. By joining together and forming this team for NAMIWalks El Paso showed that there is power in collaboration and that students at the University of Texas at El Paso are serious about ending stigma.

Empower Change hosted a Community of Practice Launch at the El Paso Double Tree Hotel on June 8, 2018. Special guest speaker, Philip Yanos P.h.D., spoke on mental health stigma and the loss of human potential.
Photo: Victor Calzada/El Paso Times file

Mental health is an important part of everyone’s life. It shapes how we think, feel and act when we’re alone and when we interact with the environment. Many times, when we think of mental health, we focus on an illness or a condition, but just like our physical well-being, we all vary in mental healthiness. Much like physical health, mental health requires regular maintenance.

Students from universities in the Paso del Norte region came together for engaging activities and showcased what they are doing to make an impact on mental health awareness and stigma reduction. The Summit featured a guest speaker who shared on his experiences as a transgender individual.   

A new mental health and emotional wellness initiative at The University of Texas at El Paso will bring together experts in psychology, social work, educational psychology, counseling and rehabilitation counseling to improve behavioral health systems in El Paso, Juárez, and southern New Mexico.

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