While not a direct-service organization, CLS partners with direct-service providers to ensure culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach to the Lao commuinity. In 2014, CLS contributed to three major mental health and wellness projects:
Lao Idiom Project
CLS partnered with the Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF) on a research project on Lao language idioms related to mental health distress among the Lao community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The project identified Lao linguistic terms and idioms related to mental distress, and examined how labels associated with mental health concerns contribute to marginalization and stigma within Lao communities. The project involved months of ethnographic fieldwork, using participant observation, focus groups with community leaders, and interviews with participants. The goal of the project were to facilitate cross-cultural understanding about challenges facing the Lao community related to mental health, and to encourage intergenerational communication, overall health and wellness, self-esteem and cultural pride.
Know the Signs: Suicide Prevention Campaign
Know the Signs is a California statewide suicide prevention campaign based on educating Californians how to recognize warning signs of suicide, how to find the words to have a conversation with someone who is thinking about suicide, and where to find professional help and resources. Suicide is not often discussed in the Lao community and there are not many resources for Lao people who might be thinking about harming themselves. CLS was glad to be able to provide translation services for Lao language outreach material regarding suicide prevention so that community members do not have to suffer in silence. If you or your organization are interested in recieving pamphlets and posters, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Our Story: Recovery and Mental Wellness"
CLS was heavily involved in the development of the Lao language version of a video entitled “Our Story: Recovery and Mental Wellness” produced and distributed by Solsken Public Relations & Marketing, with support from CalMHSA. CLS helped to connect Solsken staff with Lao community leaders in the East Bay to arrange for screenings of the video. “Our Story” was screened by Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries in May and again in June, 2014 during community forums, and at Wat Lao Rattanaram in Richmond, CA in July. Each screening was followed by sharing of reactions to the video, including community members’ personal stories, and discussion about mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and stress resulting from intergenerational miscommunication.