240499 Correlates of mental health among Mexican migrant men and women in a rural new, non-traditional receiving site

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:30 PM

Bethany Letiecq, PhD , Health & Human Development, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
Katie Gray , Health and Human Development, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
Lilia Guillen-Sanchez, MS , Health and Human Development, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
Depression is a major public health problem among Latino migrants in the United States, yet little is known about the influence of new non-traditional rural settlements on migrant mental health. This study is located in the frontier state of Montana, which experienced fast relative growth in its Mexican migrant population during the last decade. Rural communities in Montana have been caught off-guard to effectively respond to the mental health and social needs specific to Mexican migrants. Moreover, migrants here encounter a distinctively challenging context characterized by limited employment opportunities, a weak social service base, a culture of nativism, and large geographic expanses, which combine to isolate them and imbue their daily lives with fear. For this study, we employ a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, which is essential to developing trust and partnerships with both documented and undocumented migrants who are hard-to-reach and often hidden in the shadows. This study is guided by a community advisory board, made up of 6 Mexican migrants, a community organizer, and a practitioner and an outreach worker from a local community health clinic. To date, the research team has conducted 225 interviewer-assisted surveys to identify the correlates of Mexican migrant mental health. Contrary to extant research that suggests women are disproportionately burdened by depression, this study finds that single men and married men here without their spouses report experiencing the greatest number of depression symptoms. Nonetheless, over 40% of migrant women report depression symptoms in the range for clinical concern. Women also report experiencing more fear and worry and are significantly more isolated than their male counterparts, likely because women in rural Montana are the least likely to be working for pay. For this presentation, these and other correlates will be discussed as well as local responses to address migrant mental health.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the individual and contextual correlates of mental health among Mexican migrants in a rural new, non-traditional receiving site.

Keywords: Migrant Health, Rural Communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an associate professor of Health and Human Development and the principal investigator of the research to be presented
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.