240843 Assessing the behavioral health needs of Latinos and Brazilians in a Massachussetts community

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:30 AM

Sara Trillo Adams, MA, LMHC , Director, Latino Mental Health Initiatives, Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Inc. (CM AHEC), Worcester, MA
Joanne L. Calista, MS, LICSW , Executive Director, Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Inc. (CM AHEC), Worcester, MA
Diane E. Gould, LICSW , Co-Chair MetroWest MHSA Task Force, Executive Vice President, Advocates Inc., Framingham, MA
Allison Parks, LMHC , Program Director of Wayside FamilyWorks Program, Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, Framingham, MA
Monica Sanchez, Doctoral Student , Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology, Clark University, Worcester, MA
Esteban V. Cardemil, PhD , Associate Professor of Psychology, Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology, Clark University, Worcester, MA
Ismael Rivera , Co-Chair MetroWest MHSA Task Force, Director of Resources Integrated Services and Education, JRI Health, Framingham, MA
Lillian Melendez , Community Advocate, JRI Health, Framingham, MA
Juliana Ferreira , Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse Bilingual Advocate, Voices Against Violence/South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Framingham, MA
Joy Connell , Director, Person-Centered Initiative, MA Department of Mental Health, Boston, MA
Paula V. Kaminow, Esq , Vice President, Operations, Framingham Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Framingham, MA
Inequities in access, cost and quality of health care continue to exist for persons of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, regardless of income and health status. Immigrants and refugees confront multiple barriers in accessing and utilizing health care services which place them at higher risk for mental health and substance abuse disorders. In response to these issues, the MetroWest Mental Health/Substance Abuse Task Force, a collaborative of providers, consumers and state agencies in Framingham, Massachusetts, partnered with the Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center and the School of Psychology at Clark University to study behavioral health disparities in the local Brazilian and Latino communities. The Framingham Mental Health and Substance Abuse Health Disparities Project was designed to engage Brazilians and Latinos in a meaningful assessment of their service needs and to identify barriers to treatment-seeking that prevent them from accessing services. 11 Brazilian and Latino community members were recruited and trained to conduct the needs assessment. A total of 249 face-to-face interviews were conducted with 125 Brazilians, 49 Puerto Ricans and 75 immigrant Latinos. Participants reported high rates of experiences with behavioral health related problems (84% of Puerto Ricans, 61% of immigrant Latinos and 69% of Brazilians) with only 63% of Puerto Ricans, 38% of immigrant Latinos and 28% of Brazilians seeking help. A number of attitudinal and systemic barriers to treatment-seeking were identified. We will discuss community-based interventions (e.g., behavioral health educational programs) and local provider-based strategies (e.g., integration of behavioral health and primary care services) to improve access.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the components for conducting a community-based behavioral health needs assessment. 2. Describe at least three strategies to engage community members in all aspects of the assessment process. 3. Identify three strategies to address racial/ethnic disparities in accessing mental health and substance abuse treatment services at the local level.

Keywords: Latino Mental Health, Community Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversaw the development and implementation of the community-based behavioral health needs assessment discussed in this presentation.
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.