Acute Care

The Brien Center

All Staff Email

October 7, 2021

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 14, is a time to celebrate the contributions of people who make up a growing percentage of the local population. According to the latest U.S. census, Berkshire County’s Hispanic population rose by 56 percent over the past decade, from 4,530 to 7,064 people. Some of our Brien employees identify as Hispanic. They, or their ancestors, brought rich cultures and histories that have added a great deal to our community.

As we continue our work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, it’s important to also understand that many of our Hispanic friends and neighbors live with behavioral health issues at about the same rate as people from other cultures. Yet, language barriers, less access to health insurance and stigma add up to a serious disparity in treatment. Without culturally competent care, these barriers place this community at higher risk for severe and persistent forms of mental health issues.

Our Hispanic community is growing. At the Brien Center, we recognize the contributions of our Hispanic employees, as well as the challenges that some in our community face in accessing behavioral health services. It is our goal to provide everyone with the highest standards of care.

February 22, 2021

Dear Staff,

As you know, we are in the midst of assessing activities at the Brien Center in terms of how they relate to diversity, equity and inclusion. Part of this work involves looking for opportunities to raise awareness about these critical values. February, which celebrates Black History Month, is such an opportunity; a time for all of us to honor the achievements of African Americans and recognize their role in our country’s history. It’s also a time to assess the challenges that remain.

We know that trauma is cumulative. Systemic racism, which has endured in many forms over many generations, has brought a growing number of Black men, women and children to the brink of crisis. The pandemic has only made it worse. A recently released CDC survey concluded that nearly 44% of Black Americans who responded said they had symptoms of anxiety and depression, and 15% said they had seriously contemplated suicide. According to the American Psychiatric Association, only one in three Black Americans in need of mental health care receives treatment.

These alarming statistics help validate our efforts to explore diversity, equity and inclusion. They also expand our understanding of what is at stake. Our goal is to provide everyone in our community with the highest level of care.

Thank you for your commitment and helping us with this important work.