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In September 2023, SEAHEC received one of 25 National Institutes of Health ComPASS awards in the country, a distinguishing achievement for our small nonprofit. As such, we now

participate in a national effort to increase community led and community driven scientific research to improve health outcomes and health equity. SEAHEC’s project, known as “Proyecto Juntos” collaborates with partners in 4 rural counties to address mental and behavioral health issues in rural Arizona with the goal to “increase access to mental and behavioral health services”. As part of our initial research, we are conducting community listening sessions in Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties to help us better understand obstacles to accessing needed mental health services. Digital stories will be utilized to generate local discussions on community assets and barriers to care.


Digital Stories: are impactful short multi-media videos created by individuals about lived experiences such as peoples experiences dealing with the U.S. health system, substance misuse and a variety of other meaningful topics. In our “Proyecto Juntos” project, digital stories will be used to spark reflection on systemic and structural assets and barriers to accessing mental and behavioral health services in our rural Arizona communities. Community members selected to participate in focus groups will review digital stories and contribute their insights as to ways to improve access to services. The digital stories were developed by SEAHEC and partner agencies’ community health workers.


Below is a list of the Digital Stories. Authors and topics include:

Elia Felix


"I created this digital story to raise awareness about the struggles, vulnerabilities, and hopes of those seeking refuge in a new country. This inspiration came from my first day volunteering with the street release program, where an instant bond with two sisters was formed."

Pablo Albelais

"As a community health worker, it is my duty to provide accurate information and ensure the safety of our migrant community. By producing this video, I aim to be a reliable source they can trust and turn to for guidance in navigating their health and well-being."

Erin Sol

"As a community health worker, it's important for me to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, behavioral health, and substance misuse. I play a crucial role in creating a safe space where people feel comfortable talking about their challenges and asking for help without feeling judged. This helps form meaningful connections to guide them to the appropriate resources."

Lupita Gonzales

"My interest in mental health, especially among seniors has taught me the importance of mindfulness and awareness. It wasn't just about learning and sharing the information; it began a healing journey from within me."

For more information on this SEAHEC's Proyecto Juntos, read the following article.


Special thanks to Creative Narrations for providing training on developing these digital stories.


This research project is funded through NIH Common Fund ComPASS award # 1OT2OD035592-01

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