A new warmline provides mental health support for Hmong

Advocates share how the warmline is part of a larger initiative to promote mental wellbeing in underserved communities
A new mental health resource is available to Hmong in WI.
A new mental health resource is available to Hmong in WI.(WEAU)
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 6:30 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Association (WUCMAA) has made their warmline live. The warmline was released by the nonprofit as a part of Project Resiliency.

Project Resiliency is a statewide initiative to address mental health for underserved communities. The project was funded by a grant from Governor Tony Evers.

True Vue, Eau Claire Hmong Association director, said the warmline provides Hmong with a non-crisis phone number they can call to get connected to mental health resources and support.

“In our Hmong communities, we just like we need to talk about what mental health looks like. And so that’s why Project Resiliency came to his form. So really humbled and excited that, you know, Governor Evers gave this funding through WUCMAA, so now we can disperse this statewide,” Vue said.

Vue said the warmline is different than a crisis line.

“It’s like a line for people to call and have like a peer to peer talk. So it’s like providing a safe space to kind of communicate and talk about how they’re feeling,” Vue said.

Caitlin Mai Chong Lee, UW-Eau Claire’s Multicultural Student Services director, said a benefit to the warmline is that callers are able to speak with someone in multiple languages, including English and Hmong.

“It’s a warm line and somebody who needs to for that moment, needs a warm, caring voice on the other end of the line to walk them through something, to share something, something traumatic, something triggered them and be able to say it and do it in a native language,” Lee said.

The warmline is a confidential service, for those who may be afraid to speak up about mental health concerns.

“Mental health is not something that we talk much about in my community,” Lee said.

“We don’t have a lot of support, we don’t have a lot of resources, We don’t really have like best practices because in our culture, mental health is kind of seen as a negative connotation,” Vue said.

Advocates hope the warmline is a step towards better mental health care for the Hmong community.

“We’re teaching our younger Hmong folks to not see it as a bad thing, to not see it as a deficit, to not see it as a stigma that it is here to help, and that it’s okay for you to do that,” Lee said.

The Hmong peer warmline is open Monday-Friday from 9a.m. to 5p.m. CST. Please reach out to 1-800-293-7080 to speak with a peer.

The Eau Claire Hmong Association is also hosting monthly events to promote mental wellbeing in the community. Details for upcoming events can be found on their Facebook page.