LONGMEADOW — The School of Health and Natural Sciences at Bay Path University will host a discussion on suicidality for its November Hot Topics series, led by Ysabel Garcia, founder of Estoy Aqui (Spanish for “I Am Here”), a professional-development training service focused on connecting the dots between suicide, mental health, and social justice.
Garcia’s presentation, “Translating the Unspoken: Suicidality as a Language of Pain,” will distinguish between the psychiatry and social-justice models of suicide and provide participants with a holistic understanding of the suicidal experience, in order to foster a more humanistic and compassionate approach to addressing it.
The event is virtual and will take place on Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6 to 7 p.m. Click here to register.
Attendees are encouraged to participate through an interactive discussion, and they will receive slides of the presentation to use as an ongoing reference.
Garcia was recently profiled in a Boston Globe article on mental health in the Latine community. Since establishing Estoy Aqui, she has conducted more than 100 educational programs across the country, helping organizations deepen their understanding of the social, cultural, and systemic dimensions of mental health and suicide within Latino and Black communities. She is a two-time alum of Bay Path University, having earned a bachelor’s degree in child psychology in 2018 and a master of public health degree in 2021. In 2023, she was awarded the Bay Path University Civic Award for her exemplary service to the community.
“We are looking forward to the presentation and discussion with Ysabel, who has dedicated her education and her career to illuminating suicide and depression, especially the ways it is and is not addressed in the Latine community,” said Dr. Julie Watson, director of Bay Path’s post-professional occupational therapy doctorate, doctor of health science, and master of public health programs. “She has continually pushed the public-health field toward a broader, multicultural perspective on the different ways depression is experienced and expressed in immigrant and non-white communities.”
As reported in the Boston Globe, in 2010, there were 3.8 Latino suicides per 100,000 residents. In 2020, the rate increased to almost six deaths per 100,000 residents, the steepest rise among all racial and ethnic groups in Massachusetts.
Hot Topics is a free, monthly series that invites potential students and the Bay Path health-science community to engage with issues and topics they face in their work, with an interdisciplinary approach that encourages collaboration and networking.