183854 Mental health and substance use in the U.S.-Mexico border region

Monday, October 27, 2008: 9:06 AM

Victoria D. Ojeda, PhD, MPH , Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Juan Rafael Albertorio, MA , International Statistics Program, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD
Beth Han, MD, PhD, MPH , Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD
Kerstin M. Reinschmidt, PhD, MPH , Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Objectives. To describe the prevalence of mental illness, substance use and utilization patterns by nativity and by Latino status among residents of the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Methods. Descriptive analyses of data from the SAMHSA 2002-2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health were conducted. Data for Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas were aggregated.

Results. The prevalence of serious psychological distress in the past year among Latinos residing in the border region was 12.8% compared to 10.2% among non-Latinos; 5.5% of border Latinos experienced a major depressive episode in the past year vs. 5.8% of non-Latinos. A greater percentage of non-Latinos (14.5%) obtained treatment for mental health conditions in the past year compared to Latinos (6.6%). U.S.-born Latinos were twice as likely as immigrant Latinos to obtain mental health care (8.6% vs. 4.4%). Immigrant Latinos (2.6%) were half as likely to report unmet need for mental health treatment compared to U.S.-born Latinos (5.1%). The prevalence of lifetime illicit drug use was higher for border non-Latinos (50.0%) vs. Latinos (35.2%). Lifetime drug use was higher for U.S.-born Latinos (43.9%) vs. immigrant Latinos (25.7%). Lifetime substance use treatment was lower for border Latinos (5.0% vs. 7.4% for non-Latinos).

Conclusions. Latinos are underserved by mental health services. Improving access to safety-net providers for low-income populations is important. Additional research may elucidate the protective mechanisms that result in immigrants' lower drug use prior to and following immigration to the U.S. Improved data collection efforts will facilitate surveillance of mental health and substance use issues in the region.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe the prevalence of mental illness in border communities, including by Latino status. 2. Participants will be able to describe the prevalence of substance use disorders in border communities, including by Latino status. 3. Participants will be able to describe patterns of mental health service utilization by border communities, including by Latino status.

Keywords: Latino Mental Health, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: not applicable

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I led the study
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.