NAMI Delaware this week announced the addition of two staff members to the NAMI Delaware Education & Advocacy Team. Jacqueline Contreras and Estevan Garcia joined the staff in July and are rapidly learning the complexities of support, education, and advocacy for those affected by mental illness in Delaware, representatives said.

Their work will focus primarily on serving the mental health support, education and advocacy needs of Hispanic Communities in Sussex County, which includes staffing the NAMI Delaware Spanish-language Help Line.

Jacqueline Contreras joins NAMI Delaware after working and volunteering in Sussex County for the past five years. She has studied criminal justice and is interested in its intersection with mental health services.

“As a child, my parents immigrated to this country with the desire for a better future for my siblings and me,” Contreras said. “I am a mom of two wonderful children who I work to raise to be mindful and caring adults. Outside of my mom world, I see myself as an advocate, educator, but more importantly a student of the needs of the Hispanic community in Delaware.”

Contreras can be reach via email at jcontreras@namide.org.

Estevan Garcia joins NAMI Delaware inspired by personal experience.

“I grew up facing challenges with mental illness, homelessness and substance-use disorder, all of which I could attribute to mental illness and the lack of knowledge and the stigma surrounding it,” he said.

In 2017, Garcia became a peer recovery specialist at the ACE Center. He has managed a sober-living house and supported those experiencing homelessness in Sussex County. He said of his recovery, “I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to use my life experiences to help others on paths similar to ones that I have walked. With NAMI, I am hoping to make an impact on our effort to combat stigma surrounding mental illness and do my part to make the world a place where our community embraces total wellness and where everyone is free to live to their potential.”

Garcia can be reach at egarcia@namide.org.

“NAMI Delaware is grateful to the Arsht-Cannon Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation, whose generous support has made it possible to expand these services in Sussex County,” representatives said. “The Arsht-Cannon Fund focuses on partnering with Delaware’s Latinx communities and organizations that serve them to increase access to programming, and promote success and life-changing opportunities.

NAMI Delaware’s mission is “to support, educate, and advocate until there is a cure for serious and persistent mental illness.” To reach NAMI Delaware’s Help Line Monday through Friday during business hours, call 1-888-427-2643. For the Help Line in Spanish, call (302) 415-4356. To learn more, visit www.namidelaware.org.