Crisis Response Group Seeks Spanish Speakers

FEBRUARY 21, 2006 - Posted at 7:37 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A team that provides counseling after traumatic events continues to try to recruit Spanish speakers.  The organization, the Arkansas Crisis Response Team, held group counseling sessions in heavily Hispanic De Queen earlier this month to help residents cope with the case of Eleazar Paula Mendez.

Mendez is accused of killing her three small children and faces capital murder charges.

The crisis team consists clergy, law enforcement officers, mental health professionals and others.  They specialize in organizing group discussions after a traumatic event in a community and don't do long-term counseling.

The group's executive director, Ginger Bankston Bailey, says that since 2003, the group has been encouraging bilingual people to join.

A Catholic priest in De Queen, Salvador Marquez-Munoz says the one-time sessions were helpful, but says he'd still like to see more mental health resources available for immigrants.  There are few mental health professionals in Arkansas who speak Spanish.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)