New Training Program Helps Mental Health Providers Enhance Care for Hispanic, Gay and Transgender Communities in New Mexic

  • Statewide Trainings Help Improve Health and Well-Being of At-Risk Populations for Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • Program Underwritten by OptumHealth New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- OptumHealth New Mexico is underwriting a new training program that will help mental health and substance abuse caregivers who serve two important, at-risk populations for mental health and substance abuse issues – Hispanics and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

The training program, presented by the National Latino Behavioral Health Association and Equality New Mexico, is designed to educate behavioral health care providers about the unique stress factors affecting the Hispanic and LGBT communities. The program focuses on the origins and effects of discrimination and best treatment options for these high-risk populations. Care providers taking the one-day training course receive six continuing education units.

“In New Mexico, the Hispanic and LGBT communities are at-risk for mental health issues and substance abuse, so we want to help ensure they get the important mental health and behavioral health care available to them when they need it,” said Michael Evans, CEO, OptumHealth New Mexico. “We are grateful to be able to work with Latino Behavioral Health Association and Equality New Mexico to support educational and training programs that help care providers ensure people in need and those at risk get and stay healthy.”

According to the New Mexico Department of Health’s 2010 Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Report Card, since 1989, New Mexico has been among the top three states nationwide for drug-induced deaths, with Hispanics having the highest rates statewide. Hispanics also have the state’s highest percentage for serious psychological distress, according to the Department of Health’s report, Health Behaviors and Conditions of Adult New Mexicans.

“Because there is a high rate of mental illness and substance use among Hispanics, it’s important that we help improve their access to care,” said Fred Sandoval, operations manager for the National Latino Behavioral Health Association. “Partnering with OptumHealth New Mexico enables us to work with mental health and substance abuse providers to improve the clinical outcomes of Latinos in New Mexico.”

LGBT youth have a higher rate of reported suicide attempts than that of heterosexual youth, according to a report published in the Jan. 2011 issue of the Journal of Homosexuality. According to a study published in the American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric Services, the LGBT community also remains vulnerable to discrimination when seeking behavioral health services in New Mexico’s rural communities.

“Equality New Mexico works throughout the state to advocate LGBT civil rights, shape public opinion and policy, as well as strengthen our alliances with local, regional and national partners,” said Bob Bowman, Equality New Mexico board president. “We are delighted to be working with OptumHealth New Mexico to improve health care access and quality for the LGBT community. It’s a perfect partnership.”

For more information about the free trainings, contact Fred Sandoval at (505) 980-5156 or Bob Bowman at (505) 459-2344.

About the National Latino Behavioral Health Association
The National Latino Behavioral Health Association works to influence national behavioral health policy, eliminate disparities in funding, increase access to services and improve the quality of services and treatment outcomes for Latino populations. NLBHA provides a unified, national voice for Latino populations in the behavioral health arena and brings awareness to disparities in access, utilization, practice based research and adequately trained personnel. For more information about NLBHA, visit

About Equality New Mexico
Equality New Mexico educates, organizes and advocates for full recognition of LGBT civil rights in New Mexico. EQNM strives to be a solid, visible and effective statewide organization addressing ongoing discrimination. EQNM focuses on gaining rights, protections and recognition of LGBT families and individuals in New Mexico. EQNM collaborates with organizations throughout the state ensuring LGBT issues are being addressed in all facets of life. For more information about EQNM, visit

About OptumHealth
OptumHealth helps nearly 60 million Americans navigate the health care system, finance their health care needs and achieve their health and well-being goals. The company’s personalized health advocacy and engagement programs tap a unique combination of capabilities that encompass care solutions, behavioral solutions, collaborative care, and financial services. For more information about OptumHealth, visit


Brad Lotterman, 714-445-0453
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Minnesota  New Mexico

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Mental Health  Professional Services  Insurance  Consumer  Hispanic  Managed Care