Community Health Workers and Healthy Relationships
MHP Salud’s Healthy Relationships initiative aims to equip community members with communication and negotiation skills to navigate complex life challenges. CHWs provide support to improve relationships between partners, within families, and among participants’ social networks.
Community Health Workers and Intimate Partner Violence
MHP Salud’s Healthy Relationships initiative promotes healing and empowers survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse by providing them with the opportunity to learn new skills, and receive emotional support, and referrals to community-based or professional services.
It is estimated that approximately 1 in 3 Latina women will experience Intimate Partner Violence in their lifetime. While this prevalence is similar across ethnic groups, it is suggested that health outcomes may be worse for ethnic minorities including Latinas who experience IPV compared to their non-Latina White counterparts.1 The outcome of IPV for young Latinas can also often become deadly. From 2003-2014, approximately 822 Latinas were the victims of homicide. Over half of these deaths (61%) were IPV-related, and 40% of the victims were between 18-29 years old.2
It is estimated that approximately 1 in 3 Latina women will experience Intimate Partner Violence in their lifetime.
Our approach to supporting survivors of Intimate Partner Violence is built around support group sessions that combine creative self-expression, emotional empowerment, and education.
Our CHW-led groups provide a safe space for participants to share their experiences, are two hours in length and led by a trained Community Health Worker using methods that emphasize social justice and community empowerment. The use of CHWs as group leaders is a key element of the program because they are both peers and professionals, and thus able to build a trusting relationship with the participants that might not otherwise be possible. This relationship increases the impact and effectiveness of the group sessions.
The specific educational topics covered within the support group include: the dynamics of family violence, healthy relationships, safety within intimate partner relationships, emotional wellbeing, stress, and self-care. Within the support group, discussion is encouraged among group members. Arts and crafts activities (e.g. jewelry making, collage, etc.) occur at each group session. The intent of the arts and crafts is to open discussion and build trust among participants, as well as providing a safe place for self-expression. Finally, each session concludes with an optional journal prompt and writing period to promote healing.
These sessions have proven effective as participants who completed a recent program that supported survivors of Intimate Partner Violence reported lower levels of stress and depression, as well as higher feelings of empowerment and community support. The program was also cost-effective, with an estimated return of $1.73 per dollar invested over a five year period.
- Stockman, J. K., Hayashi, H., & Campbell, J. C. (2015). Intimate partner violence and its health impact on disproportionately affected populations, including minorities and impoverished groups. Journal of Women’s Health, 24(1), 62–79. doi:10.1089/jwh.2014.4879
About MHP Salud
MHP Salud has over thirty years of experience implementing CHW programs and training organizations looking to start and/or strengthen their own CHW programs. For more information about MHP Salud, our services, and how we can help you, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org