206473 Assessing and addressing barriers to Mental Health services for Latinos

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Edward McField, MSA, PhD(c) , School of Science & Technology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Rupinder Cheema, MPH(c) , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Juan Carlos Belliard, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Statistics from the County of San Bernardino indicate that while Latinos account for almost half (47%) of the county's population, and over 50 percent for the City of San Bernardino, Latinos use a small fraction (28%) of mental health services. To examine the reasons for this limited use of mental health services among Latinos, this study explores patterns of mental health services use and barriers in accessing mental health care among Latinos. Since cultural beliefs and attitudes affect how minorities respond to mental health problems, this study examines cultural and structural barriers, health beliefs and practices, and stigma that make it less likely for Latinos to access mental health care services.

Using a mixed method approach, researchers conducted 6 focus groups and 150 surveys of consumers and non-consumers (community members) in Spanish and English with Latinos in San Bernardino, CA.

This presentation reports on preliminary findings from focus groups that show that there needs to be more education regarding mental health; that culturally bound mental health illnesses like “ataque de nervios” and “susto” need to be addressed using culturally specific methods; and Latinos under-utilize mental health services due to structural and cultural barriers such as language, transportation, cost, and mainly fear of deportation.

Culturally competent approaches to increase the quality and access to mental health services must be developed. Most effective approaches involve the community in identifying challenges and solutions. Using the promoter model with a focus on mental health looks promising for future strategies that improve access and quality of mental health services.

Learning Objectives:
-recognize cultural and structural barriers to access and utilization of mental health services -assess quality of mental health services used by consumers -identify solutions to improve access and utilization among Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Executive Director of Latino Health Collaborative. PhD candidate in Social Policy and Social Research, coordinated the access to mental health services 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.

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