EWU Rhetoric & Technical Communication alumna Raquel DeLeon (formerly Dean) recently published her article “User Experiences of Spanish-Speaking Latinos with the Frontier Behavioral Health Website,” in Xchanges: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Technical Communication, Rhetoric, and Writing Across the Curriculum. DeLeon shows in her article that technical communication and advocacy are not mutually exclusive endeavors.
DeLeon’s article presents a usability study of a regional behavioral health website that focuses on the experiences of Latino/a people while using the website. Many of her participants in this study found that the design made performing tasks difficult. According to DeLeon, her project was inspired by witnessing her mother’s struggle to get mental health help. Both of her biological parents were immigrants to the United States and did not make it past the first grade in Mexico. DeLeon explains that seeking mental health treatment was a struggle for her mother because:
“One, she didn’t have the financial means to find high-quality mental health services. Two, she had no idea how to even begin searching for resources and was unable to comprehend the complex wording on specific websites that offered mental health services.”
DeLeon observed that people in the Latino/a community who were non-English-speaking struggled because they were not educated about mental health issues and struggled to find resources for their children with mental health concerns. Non-English-speaking Latino/a people struggled with the websites of many mental health organizations and DeLeon wanted to bring awareness to the issue.
DeLeon has taken and will continue to take the education she has received at Eastern Washington University and has used it to affect important change in the world. DeLeon demonstrates that technical communication and psychology both can affect change as disciplines on their own and are even more powerful in concert with each other.