Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS) is a non-profit organization established to provide support services to Ethiopian immigrants in the greater Seattle area.
Many Ethiopians migrated to the U.S. in the early 90’s, and many came from the refugee camps of Sudan. They lived in these refugee camps for many years, fought in wars, survived famine and then went to a foreign land and did their best to survive despite poverty, racism and little to no education. With all of these challenges, many suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, many folks within the community don’t have an understanding of mental illness dynamics and treatment options. There is a huge stigma that prevents people from reaching out to get help or to even understand what is happening. Many members reach out to religious leaders instead of medical providers, and many of these religious leaders also don’t understand mental illness.
When people reach out to ECS about a family member, friend or someone they’ve encountered on the
street, it often relates to schizophrenia, bipolarity or extreme paranoia. Ethiopian mental health professionals or medical providers are hard to find, and it is difficult to trust someone who doesn’t represent your culture, speak your language or understand your history. So many reach out to ECS, but the staff doesn’t have the proper training to support individuals or families who come in seeking help. That’s why the Ethiopian Community in Seattle and its Health Council has decided to tackle the mental health crisis that our community is facing in the greater Seattle area.
The Health Council of the Ethiopian Community in Seattle will use PHPDA funds to adequately train staff, the health council committee, and other community members on mental health issues and resources. ECS will build a secure network with various religious leaders of the Ethiopian Community and offer training and educational events so these religious leaders will have the information needed to guide community members to the proper channels.
Ethiopian Community in Seattle
Ethiopian community in Seattle (ECS) is a community-based, non-profit organization located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Southeast Seattle. ECS has been serving the community for more than 30 years. It was first established by a group of Ethiopians who wanted to help other fellow Ethiopian immigrants as they struggle to fit in a new country, the language and culture of which they know nothing or little about. ECS was and still is a welcoming center where all Ethiopian immigrants can find solace, comfort, social and cultural interaction, celebrations, and general assistance for solving real and immediate issues in establishing a new life.