Breaking Down Language Barriers in Behavioral Health Care

WilmU Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student Daisy Lara is passionate about providing behavioral health care to patients who often fall through the cracks.

Her project, serving Spanish-speaking patients, earned her one of only 20 fellowships awarded to minority students by the National Advisory Committee of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to work with the American Nurses Association.

She was selected based on her leadership in mental health and substance abuse disorders. She also was awarded $25,000 to complete her doctoral degree at Wilmington University.

“A lot of patients don’t get the care they need when language is a barrier,” she says. “Patients need providers who can understand what they are feeling.”

Lara, who is bilingual, is working in a primary care practice in Kennett Square, integrating mental health care. She also works with Spanish-speaking patients in a clinic in Chester County. She is developing a survey to determine the level of self care among the individuals she serves and how access to bilingual healthcare providers can make a difference.

Her goal is to develop programs for suicide prevention in Spanish-speaking communities. She also hopes to teach other nurses and expand community outreach programs for the Hispanic population.

“The structure and support of the DNP program at Wilmington is incredible,” she says. “I feel extremely well prepared to reach my career goals.”