Perceived need for mental health services among homeless Latino drug users
Co-morbid mental health disorders are common among individuals with substance use disorders. Treatment integration is imperative for vulnerable populations with disparate needs and access to health services. Homeless, Latino drug users have been identified as underutilizing behavioral health care. This exploratory study examined whether severity of need was associated with level of motivation to enter mental health treatment for a sample of 214 homeless Latino drug users who reported mental health symptoms in the past year. The data originated from a five-year program effort to increase utilization of substance abuse and mental health treatment among homeless Latino drug users. In-person interview data was analyzed using bivariate and multivariate analysis. Severity of need was measured as 1) self-reported mental health symptomology in the past 30 days; 2) self-reported history of victimization; and 3) substance use severity. The analysis controlled for demographic characteristics, social support for recovery, prior use of psychopharmacological medication, and prior substance abuse treatment use. The analysis identified that female gender and a history of having been physically attacked, mugged, or robbed were associated with increased motivation to seek mental health treatment. These findings underscore the importance of early identification and support for treatment among marginalized populations. Insufficient research has been conducted exploring the complexity of victimization, substance use disorders, and mental health disorders among Latino populations. Consequently, few evidence-based practices have been developed and implemented that target Latinos experiencing co-morbid disorders. There is a pressing need for comprehensive, culturally responsive public health prevention efforts that support treatment engagement.
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Describe factors associated with mental health treatment utilization among individuals with co-morbid disorders
Identify factors associated with perceived need for mental health services among homeless Latino drug users
Discuss implications for public health prevention efforts, including the importance of understanding motivation to engage in treatment
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Project Coordinator for a SAMHSA-CSAT funded grant at the Center for Addictions Research and Services at the Boston University School of Social Work. The program seeks to increase utilization of mental health and substance abuse treatment among homeless Latino drug users. The Center has published numerous articles addressing substance abuse, mental health, and HIV among Latinos in Massachusetts. I will graduate in May 2013 with master's degrees in Social Work and Public Health.
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.