184672 Mental Health Literacy among Latino Immigrants in the United States: An Investigation of Knowledge and Beliefs Surrounding Mental Illness and its Treatments

Monday, October 27, 2008: 8:48 AM

Robin Nicholson-Vasquez, PsyD , Department of Psychology, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Steven Godin, PhD, MPH , Community Health Education Program, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
In 2003, Latino's residing in the United States became the largest ethnic minority group in the country. Knowledge and understanding of mental health disorders is a prerequisite for early recognition and intervention with mental illness and an important determinant of help seeking behavior. Research has consistently confirmed low utilization of mental health services among Latinos. Exploring Latinos' knowledge and beliefs surrounding mental illness and its treatment offers fundamental information and understanding necessary for culturally relevant treatment and services. This study examined the mental health literacy of 179 Latino immigrants working in Georgia and Pennsylvania. Participants were provided with vignettes that characterized: 1) Depression; 2) Schizophrenia; 3) Anxiety; and 4) Everyday Stress. Results show that 46.8% of participants were able to correctly identify depression for the depression vignette. Furthermore, 40% were able to correctly identify stress for the vignette depicting an individual suffering from stress and not a mental disorder. However, only 2.3% of participants were able to correctly identify schizophrenia for the schizophrenia vignette. In addition, only 14% of participants were able to correctly identify anxiety when presented with the anxiety vignette. Significant correlations were found between years living in the US and ability to identify appropriate services for the types of diagnoses depicted in the vignettes. However, stigmatized reactions to the stress vignette increased as months living in the US increased. Results are discussed within the context of help seeking behavior for mental health problems and the influence of aculturalization on mental health literacy. -13-2008-->

Learning Objectives:
1. To recognize how years living in the US is correlated with ability to recognize types of mental health disorders, and appropriate treatment; 2) To identify types of mental health disorders Latinos stigmatize; 3)

Keywords: Latino Mental Health, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: N/A

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a licensed psychologist, and professor of public health. I chaired this student's dissertation.
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.