Creating Healthier Attitudes Today (CHAT)
Providence’s Creating Healthier Attitudes Today (CHAT) program is a free community-based mental health education program for adults living in lower-income communities. The 6-week CHAT course teaches culturally relevant coping skills that include stress management, resilience, effective communication, self-esteem enhancement, anger management, and emotional intelligence. During each session participants practice personal goal setting and decision making exercises that help them identify the behaviors they want to improve and keep them accountable to making behavior changes that improve their mental health.
CHAT is implemented in clinic and community settings throughout the South Bay region of Los Angeles. Please click here for more information and/or to sign up for the class.
Mental Health Education That Works
At 40 years old, Gabriel Vazquez was feeling stressed and angry at the whole world. “My self-esteem was to the floor,” he said, “I couldn’t communicate with anyone and there were moments where I thought I was going crazy. I was short of breath, and for a long time I thought I was having heart problems.”
To make matters worse, Vazquez lost an important family member. “My uncle died. That marked a very difficult moment in my life. I did not know how to get beyond this, but thank goodness for the CHAT program.”
Education that closes the gap
Creating Healthier Attitudes Today, or CHAT, is a six-week mental health education program that Providence offers to vulnerable adults living in underserved communities of Los Angeles County. There is no other program like it in the area.
While many local organizations provide intervention services, CHAT is the only program that teaches coping skills to people who may not have a mental illness but still need extra support managing the stress in their lives. CHAT closes this gap, and has even been able to connect people who need additional help with the right treatment and support.
Finding the light within
To promote whole-person health, CHAT instructors provide culturally relevant coping skills that include stress and anger management, effective communication, self-esteem enhancement, resiliency and emotional intelligence. Surveys of CHAT graduates show that the program is improving their ability to handle stress and seek support from those around them.
“Before, I was a person with many problems and I did not know how to handle my life,” said Vazquez.
“Now I have the tools to overcome, to grow as a human being, and I am determined to share all of this with anyone who needs it. I found that the path for me is like a light that was illuminated in my life.”
Changing lives in six weeks
As for Vazquez, “I feel like a champion. In six weeks I advanced to where I had never advanced before in my 40 years.”