News Flash

Legislative District 02

Posted on: May 17, 2024

Bynoe, Community Leaders Present Haitian Creole Mental Health First Aid Training in Westbury

(WESTBURY, N.Y.) – Ahead of the observance of May 18 as Haitian Flag Day, Nassau County Legislature Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Siela A. Bynoe (D – Westbury) partnered with the Mental Health Association of Nassau County and Haitian American community leaders for Haitian-Creole Mental Health First Aid training workshops at the “Yes We Can” Center in Westbury on Wednesday, May 8 and Friday, May 10. 

During the workshops, nearly two dozen community members were taught key principles that equipped them to identify mental health disorders, de-escalate crisis situations, connect individuals in distress with appropriate care, and destigmatize the seeking of mental health care. The Haitian-Creole sessions were borne of Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe’s continued partnership with the coordinators of the Westbury-New Cassel Haitian Flag Day event, including Gift of Writing Foundation board members Erline Dorsainvil and Vicki Sylvain; and former Westbury School Board Trustee Sherley Cadet.

As a strong proponent of Mental Health First Aid, Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe worked in a bipartisan manner to initiate its use in Nassau County starting in 2015. Three years later, she authored and unanimously passed legislation requiring all public-facing County employees to receive the training.

“We were excited to bring Mental Health First Aid awareness to Nassau County’s Haitian Creole speaking community,” Vicki Sylvain said. “Right from the icebreaker in the beginning – in which attendees shared the favorite Haitian proverbs that they grew up with – having a facilitator who spoke Haitian Creole and referenced our culture throughout the presentation was especially powerful, and it opened avenues for conversations about mental health, what trauma is, and how to overcome the impediments that prevent people from getting help they need and deserve.”

“At a time when the Haitian diaspora has experienced numerous trauma-inducing incidents, it is important for our community to rally around our neighbors and provide them with access to proven resources that can aid them in navigating this incredibly distressing moment in history,” Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe said.  “I am committed to partnering in significant ways to ensure that we can dispel lingering stigmas associated with mental health and overcome language barriers in the delivery of these vital resources. I grateful for this partnership with Haitian American community leaders and the Mental Health Association of Nassau County.”

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