Several schools from marginalized communities around La Paz have reached out to Fundación Astra to request intervention to prevent an increased tendency to suicidal behaviors. This proposed project, a series of art workshops using creative expression, with the goal to promote mental and emotional well-being, will address some of the endemic risk factors leading to those behaviors. The workshops are designed to bring emotion awareness, analyzing the causes of distress and through arts, develop coping mechanism, resilience and support among students. The project will bring emotional education, regulation of violent feelings, depression prevention and will result in stronger communities. Global increase of suicide rate is one of the greatest tragedies affecting our youth. Appropriate prevention requires a culture of acceptance, compassion, trust, that discusses suicide openly, without fear of stigma or shame. Activities that strengthen healthy bonds and relationships can help to mitigate risk factors of suicidal behaviors in the long term.
Organization Implementing the project
Founded in 2018 by Dr. Nancy Harris, Fundación Astra is an innovative humanitarian non-profit based in La Paz, Baja California Sur, which delivers acute and preventive healthcare to the most vulnerable populations: children, at-risk youth, mothers, the injured, the chronically ill and the elderly. Open to local residents from all the Baja California Sur Municipalities, Fundación Astra offers free medical, nutritional, psychological, dental, acupuncture and physiotherapy consultations and workshops at it’s clinic in La Paz. Fundación Astra also offers outreach to more remote underserved communities of Baja California Sur, with primary health care, community kitchen and mental health activities. The clinic is run by our Mexican colleagues–physicians, EMTs, nurses, nutritionists and psychologists—Started with 3 volunteers in 2018 (a doctor, a nutritionist and a psychologist), Astra now has over 15 local volunteers: 3 doctors, 5 psychologists, 2 nutritionists, 2 nurses, 1 physiotherapist, 1 dentist, 1 administrator. Healthcare professionals from the USA and Europe join the team on a seasonal rotation.
This multidisciplinary team represents many cumulative years of experience in the fields of medicine, nutrition, and public health in impoverished and marginalized communities. Services are designed to fill the wide gaps in available health insurance for the poor or underinsured.
Fundación Astra offers an integrated approach to community health seen in the context of the surrounding culture and to incorporate ancient wisdom and traditions where appropriate. Our initiatives draw inspiration from our coalition of idealistic practitioners who are committed to achieving an equitable, holistic and sustainable approach to relieve sickness and suffering in the neediest and most vulnerable among us.
TERMA FOUNDATION CALIFORNIA, USA
Fundación Astra AC, Mexico, is a separately incorporated project under the Terma Foundation, a US- based 501c3 which promotes and develops culturally appropriate community health programs in underserved populations. Since 1999, Terma’s health programs reached the communities of more than 1.6 million indigenous beneficiaries in Tibetan areas of China. Terma has received worldwide recognition for its work, including the World of Children Health Care Award (2006).