Healthy Learners expands to Spanish-speaking communities

Healthy Learners, a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating health barriers to learning for students, delivered South Carolina’s inaugural Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training for Spanish-speaking communities.

The evidence-based program equips participants with the necessary skills to identify signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use.

As part of the organization’s commitment to addressing mental health challenges, Dr. Aixa Rodriguez-Mariani was promoted to the role of Statewide Mental Health Initiatives Manager for Healthy Learners in 2022. She provides leadership and implementation of a variety of community led strategies to assess, educate and offer services to address mental health challenges in adolescents. She is actively engaged in fostering relationships with a range of stakeholders to amplify and expand the impact of local programs, while also increasing community engagement regarding the mental health crisis.

Expanding the scope of their YMHFA trainings, Healthy Learners reached Spanish-speaking communities in 2023 through a partnership with the Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center. Over the course of three events, 80 participants received YMHFA training in Spanish. Additionally, in collaboration with PASOS, Healthy Learners has trained 12 Spanish speaking community health workers.

“It has been an honor to facilitate these trainings for YMHFA for Spanish-speaking communities in the state of SC,” Rodriguez-Mariani said. “Teaching about youth mental health in Spanish is not just about translating a course. It is about acknowledging and understanding different views, approaches, and barriers to seeking and accessing mental health resources. It’s about looking at linguistic diversity, and cultural traditions as strengths in mental well-being. It’s about approaching the subject with cultural humility and understanding there is no one-size fits-all script.”

To learn more about Youth Mental Health First Aid and access mental health resources visit