LSSI in Sterling/Rock Falls, Ill. Provides Counseling Services in Spanish


lssiWhether it’s at home or at work, we all seem to find stress in our lives and have to deal with it one way or another.  Now imagine being in a situation where you need professional help to deal with the stress but you don’t know enough English to express yourself to the person who will assist you in the process.  How stressful is that?
Unfortunately there is a very big need for bilingual mental health services to be offered. But in Sterling, Ill., Diana Hammer Tscheschlok of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) is helping many people get the right counseling they need in the language they are comfortable speaking.
“A lot of immigrants or even the folks who have been here a long time and speak Spanish as their first language, don’t have a place to go and really talk about things in their first language, and counseling is sort of like praying: you want to do it in your own language,” Diana Hammer Tscheschlok said.
Diana is a bilingual social worker and counselor for LSSI, a statewide agency that offers counseling to individuals, couples and families.  They offer substance abuse services, conduct elder abuse investigations, and also have a youth crisis workers on call.  The cost for counseling services depends on a person’s income.  “We try to charge a fee that the client can pay,” says Diana, “and we are able to do this thanks to support from the United Way of Whiteside County.”  The Spanish counseling part of the General Counseling program is called  “Compañeros Contigo” which literally translates to “companions with you”.   Diana has become a companion to those who might feel alone with issues that they may feel are unique to them.  Diana says that depression and anxiety seem to be very prevalent among immigrants.  The problems may seem different for newly arrived immigrants but are shared by many.
“Having come through traumatic situations like crossing the border, or raising your kids in a new area, not understanding the language or customs or way of life,” says Diana, “not being able to drive right away, trying to find a job, all those things are very, very stressful. It’s important to let clients know that they aren’t the only ones feeling depressed or worried, and that it’s normal to feel that way in these circumstances, and that together we can find solutions to help them cope with their current stress and manage it more effectively in the future.”
LSSI serves the counties of Whiteside, Lee, Ogle, and Carroll in Ill. They have also joined with other agencies, organizations, and area businesses to form the Sterling/Rock Falls Immigration Task Force, which helps keep people informed about immigration law and advocates for positive changes to it.  LSSI has also created support groups in the past with great success and is hoping to do it again in the future. Currently they are collaborating with the Whiteside County Health Department on a grant received from the Illinois Department of Public Health, to educate uninsured Hispanic women about breast and cervical cancer prevention and provide free screenings.  The next event is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Rock Falls Candlelight Inn, 2200 First Ave., and will also provide information about prostate cancer for guys.  For more information about LSSI’s counseling program or the cancer education event in Rock Falls, Ill. please contact Diana at (815) 626-7333, ext. 324, or via email at [email protected].

Facebook Comments