172176 Mental health preparedness and community health workers

Monday, October 27, 2008

Anna Graham , USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
D. Mercedes Duchicela, MPH , School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
Crystal Stewart , Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Within Latino communities, there is often a stigma associated with mental disorders. In a disaster involving high levels of stress among an entire population, this may lead to delays in seeking care, which can have negative consequences on recovery. Thus, the importance of mental health preparedness within Latino communities becomes evident. Disaster situations will necessitate facilitators who possess knowledge of mental health problems, stress reactions, coping mechanisms, and recovery strategies. Promotores are uniquely positioned to fulfill this role in helping the populations they serve begin to recover after a disaster. Following the identification of a training priority in this area, the USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness drew upon various sources of material to develop a three-hour training activity on Mental Health Preparedness for Promotores in the fall of 2007. The objectives of the course were to increase participant knowledge of mental health and mental disorders, as well as traumatic events and stress, so that they might better understand methods to cope with their own stress as responders, as well as the stress experienced by members of their community. The material was presented in a bilingual, multimedia format, and active discussion and participation were encouraged. A post-training assessment found a significant increase in participant knowledge of the course material, and the participants found the content relevant and would recommend the course to their peers. The majority of participants had never received training on mental health before. A method for further evaluation of participant skills and abilities is being developed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the importance of Mental Health Preparedness within border Latino communities. 2. Identify the role of the Promotor(a) in Mental Health Preparedness. 3. List two skill sets or knowledge areas within Mental Health Preparedness that assist Promotores in responding to a disaster.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I coordinated and was responsible for the project detailed in the submitted abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.