155655 Hispanic Beliefs on Depression: The Need to Increase Awareness and Knowledge among Communities

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Melissa Cristal Mercado-Crespo, MSc, MA , Institute for Hispanic Health, National Council of La Raza, San Juan, PR
Claudia Millar, MPH , Institute for Hispanic Health, National Council of La Raza, Washington, DC
Liany Elba Arroyo, MPH, CPH , Institute for Hispanic Health, National Council of La Raza, Washington, DC
Latinos receive less preventive care than non-Latinos and are less likely to be reached by mainstream health education, promotion, and disease prevention efforts. Any solution for the alarming disparities in Latino mental health must consider the interrelated factors of culture, access to appropriate services, community-based and -driven programs, and policy to provoke sustainable positive changes. The National Council of La Raza's Institute for Hispanic Health (NCLR/IHH), with support from the Lilly Foundation, conducted formative research regarding the awareness, knowledge, and actions related to depression among Latinos in the U.S. in order to develop culturally-appropriate educational materials. Focus group discussions with promotores de salud (lay health educators) and community members were conducted in El Paso, TX; Miami, FL; and Union City, CA. Participants – 22 promotores and 36 community members – were mostly women (59%), with an average age of 48 years.

Hispanics fear being labeled as “crazy” for seeking depression services and do not consider it an illness. Latinos view economic and family problems as the main cause of depression. They are unaware of available mental health services – regardless of health insurance and immigration status – believing they are more likely to suffer depression than other groups.

Results underscore the importance of gathering information directly from the Latino community to understand how best to address their health issues. Based on these findings, NCLR/IHH developed depression education materials that promotores de salud shared among their communities. All interventions were evaluated, and results will be presented at conference.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand Latinos’ current knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors toward depression and mental health. 2. Recognize commonly believed myths about depression among Hispanic communities. 3. Identify culturally-competent and linguistically-appropriate communication interventions that will increase Latino communities’ understanding of depression and its identification and prevention.

Keywords: Depression, Latino Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.