junio 11, 2015
Meet our Behavioral Health Provider: Nelly Pino
Nelly Pino, our Behavioral Health provider since February 2015, came to us with a mission to end the stigma of mental health in the Latino community. Nelly arrived to San Francisco 22 years ago from her home country El Salvador. Like many immigrant families who arrive to the U.S., Nelly experienced feelings of displacement and faced difficulty adjusting to her new surroundings. Her experiences as an immigrant child and the difficulties she witnessed her family and other immigrant families go through, fortified her journey into behavioral health.
Nelly and her family lived in San Francisco for one year, and in that year her family connected to essential community services, including Mission Neighborhood Health Center. At the age of 12, Nelly had her first experience with MNHC. “I remember coming to the clinic and feeling welcomed and like I belonged because I could speak Spanish and everyone there could understand what I was saying,” said Nelly. Her memories of these services and seeing other community organizations’ dedication to helping the immigrant community, inspired her passion to serve the Latino immigrant community.
In 2012, Nelly received her Master’s degree in social work with a concentration of community mental health at Cal State East Bay. After receiving her degree, she went on to join the YTeam, a school-based mental health program that serves a high population of predominantly Latino students. Nelly found that her counseling services were a necessity for Latino families and their children who often face many cultural and economic barriers to access behavioral health support.
Now, Nelly brings her many years of Behavioral Health experience to support the emerging needs of patients in our Women’s Clinic. At MNHC we have seen a pattern of our patients who seek out behavioral health services due to displacement, documentation status and domestic violence.
“Coming to the United States was a shocking cultural experience,” said Nelly when discussing her first experience in the U.S. Because of her unique experiences, Nelly can connect and understand her patients. Her commitment is visible through her daily interactions with patients and passion to provide the community with culturally relevant mental health services.
Nelly understands the complex relationship between Latinos and mental health and the need to educate our patients about available mental health resources. “Many Latino families are hesitant about receiving mental health services. They hear mental health and want to disassociate themselves from it. I want to fight this stigma and bring awareness and positivity to the word mental health,” said Nelly.
Our need for Behavioral Health services is high during this delicate time of change in the Mission District and the support of Nelly and all our Behavioral Health counselors is invaluable to our patients.
MNHC is glad to have Nelly Pino on board and looks forward to working with our Behavioral Health staff to continue to care for the well-being of our Latino community.
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