universityofnorthcarolinaatchapelhillUniversity of North Carolina
Creating Confianza
Chatham County, NC

About our project:

Chatham County, historically a rural county, is located 30 miles south of Chapel Hill. The county public schools report that 1533 out of 7000 students are Latino immigrants or children of immigrants. Statewide research focused on this population suggests that more than half of 12-18 year olds have mental health needs, yet only 3% to 5% access services. Findings also show that 30% meet cut-offs for anxiety disorders, 8% meet criteria for depression, and 6% suffer from PTSD. Eleven percent of girls have been suicidal. Caregivers also report significant mental health difficulties. See Migration and Mental Health: Latino Youth and Parents Adapting to Life in the American South

Creating Confianza — a partnership of a middle school, high school, bilingual/bicultural mental health center and the University of North Carolina School of Social Work — is helping students receive more mental health support and assisting teachers and other school staff to work effectively with these students. For more information, view our poster.

Demographic data:

Our work:

The project is strengthening the emotional well-being of students by using three strategies: 1) school staff training to increase knowledge of the Latino students’ life experiences; 2) parent training on mental health and other issues that concern them; and 3) on request, onsite screening of students for mental health issues and referral of those in need of care to El Futuro. The school-family liaison, a bilingual/bicultural licensed clinical social worker hired through the project, conducts or facilitates all these activities.

By employing a bilingual/bicultural school-family liaison worker who is a trained social worker and partnering with a Spanish language mental health agency, El Futuro, we have eliminated most language barriers to care.

Our partners:

University of North Carolina, School of Social Work
El Futuro
Chatham County Public Schools

What we are learning:

  • We are adding some specific interventions to our project including the SPARCS curriculum aimed at enhancing emotional regulation for students living in chronically stressful situations. We will be beginning groups in each of our target schools as well as other Chatham County Schools this spring. Confianza brought this evidence-based practice to the Chatham County Schools and they have elected to invest in it together with the local management agency for mental health in the county. Click here for more information about SPARCS or visit the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Website at
  • We have had success in engaging caregivers around educational activities about their children. Given the data from the state-wide survey, we are contemplating ways to do further outreach to parents to address their own mental health concerns.

For more information about this project, contact Mimi Chapman at