Above: Dr. Khu Thao, Director of the Center for Social Healing, welcomes everyone to the Center.
Wilder Foundation held a community open house for the Center for Social Healing located at 935 LaFond Avenue in Saint Paul on June 27.
The Center serves about 500 clients a month, many who are Hmong, Vietnamese, Karen and Khmer. Grounded in effective, innovative and recovery-oriented approaches, it focuses on alternative and culturally-relevant ways of healing, learning and community building while blending in other effective practices and activities.
According to the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans (CAPM), there are over 216,000 Asian-Minnesotan residents with over 50.2% of this population being Southeast Asian (versus the national average of 20.7%).
The Southeast Asian community faces stressors unique to the experience of immigrants and refugees which includes culture shock, discrimination, language barriers, and financial hardships. Major depression, general anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also common and often unaddressed (Hmong Mental Health report, Wilder Research, 2010).
Wilder's Southeast Asian (SEA) Services was established in 1984 and the Center for Social Healing and Wellness was created as an intentional, therapeutic community designed to respond to these many barriers and unmet cultural and service needs. The program includes group therapies, gardening, preparing and sharing meals, educational and social events, and healing practices such as QiGong, relaxation, and meditation.
The open house included children's activities, a make-your-own Vietnamese salad bar and a self-guided tour of the center. Wilder CEO MayKao Hang and Wilder Board member Dr. Xoua Thao shared comments on the need for these services in the east metro community. Said MayKao, "Wilder is committed to increasing access to culturally competent services and, in doing so, reducing health and other disparities."