The following is an excerpt from our latest grantee story. Hope Family Health Center (HOPE) was one of three community health centers to receive funding in 2015 through the Hogg Foundation’s Advancing Peer Support in Integrated Health Care grant program.

“If you have a broken leg, you need a cane,” Elsa Roman says. “Peer support is your cane. You might need surgery for your leg—that’s counseling.”

Elsa Roman

Elsa Roman

In 2015, Elsa Roman was suffering from severe depression and urgently seeking help. Like more than 4.5 million fellow Texans, she didn’t have health insurance—a barrier that prevents many people from accessing health care and clinical services that address both their physical and mental health conditions.

When a friend told Elsa she might find solace in laughter yoga, her subsequent search for a session led her to Hope Family Health Center (HOPE). The McAllen-based primary care clinic and counseling center provides free services—laughter yoga among them—to medically uninsured residents of the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Recalling the first time she walked through their doors, Elsa says, “I told myself, I know that place is going to help me.” After a couple months as a client, she regained her ability to hold a job and began volunteering at the clinic. Today, she serves as their Peer Support Specialist Coordinator. Read the full story