BACHC launches group for Spanish-speaking women

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Beloit Area Community Health Center's Laura Anderson, board certified nurse practitioner, Fran Zamora, RN, and Mollie Gill, social worker gather for a photo. The women are launching a support group for Spanish-speaking women.

BELOIT - Spanish-speaking women can struggle with breast cancer, depression, diabetes, family problems and loved ones passing away, but they don't always have someone to talk to about it. It's why Beloit Area Community Health Center (BACHC) is launching a new support group designed for Spanish-speaking Latinas.

The first meeting is scheduled for 5:15 - 6:15 p.m. on June 21 at BACHC, 74 Eclipse Center. There is no cost to participate and women can bring their children. Snacks and light refreshments also will be offered. About 33 percent of the patients at the Beloit Area Community Health Center are Hispanic, according to Ana Montoya, marketing coordinator at BACHC.

Laura Anderson, a nurse practitioner, set up the group after speaking to her Spanish-speaking patients who found support services to be scarce. Although there are various support groups for issues impacting English-speakers, the same groups aren't available for Spanish speakers. Anderson recruited Registered Nurse Francisca Zamora and Clinic Social Worker Mollie Gill to form a support group for Spanish speaking women.

Although Hispanic families tend to be very strong, Anderson said Latina women tend to be the rock in those families.

"Everything falls on them," Anderson said. "While they might have strong family support networks, they don't have the support for themselves. They are often the support for others."

Anderson said Latina women can benefit from a support network of other women to discuss how they are coping with life and barriers they deal with. Like all women, Latinas can struggle with devastating medical diagnoses, loss of loved ones and other stressors.

"Women in general do much better when they have a strong support network," Anderson said.

Montoya said women attending the first meeting can let BACHC know more about their needs and upcoming meetings can be tailored around certain topics of interest. Around 10 to 15 women have already expressed interest in the group.

"As women, it's important to take care of themselves so they can take care of everyone else. We just hope they can find some support here," Montoya said.

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