Community mental health services for Latinos and Latinas in the rural U.S.

  • Sergio Cristancho Universidad de Antioquia University of Illinois
  • Karen Elaine Peters University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Diana Marcela Garces Universidad de Antioquia

Abstract

Resumen
El aumento de la población Latina rural en EEUU representa un reto para la provisión de servicios de salud mental adecuados. Barreras de acceso como el aislamiento geográfico, limitaciones en el transporte público, escasez de proveedores/as de servicios y su limitada competencia cultural son particularmente marcadas. La psicología comunitaria puede hacer contribuciones significativas para resolver este grave problema de salud pública. En este artículo, nos basamos en nuestra experiencia investigativa y de extensión con inmigrantes Latinos y Latinas en áreas rurales de la región centro-occidental de los EEUU para ilustrar percepciones sobre su situación de salud mental y su necesidad de servicios. También hacemos recomendaciones acerca de los cambios necesarios para aumentar la capacidad técnica de provisión de servicios en salud mental que respondan a las necesidades de esta población. Esto incluye el desarrollo de nuevos programas para responder a las prioridades comunitarias, el entrenamiento de promotores de salud o enlaces comunitarios para facilitar el acceso y la navegación en el sistema de salud, y realizar abogacía.
Palabras clave: Inmigrantes Latinos y Latinas, condiciones y servicios de salud mental, región central de los Estados Unidos, psicología comunitaria

Abstract
Rapid Latino and Latina population growth in rural U.S. has challenged the provision of adequate mental health services. In these areas, access barriers—geographic isolation, the lack of public transportation systems, the shortage of health care providers and their limited cultural competence—are particularly serious. Community psychology can make significant contributions to address this major public health issue. In this article, we draw on our research and outreach experience with Latino and Latina immigrants in the rural Midwest to illustrate this population’s perceived mental health status and service needs. We also provide some possible strategies for bridging gaps and make recommendations regarding much needed changes to augment the technical capacity to serve Latinos and Latinas’ mental health needs in rural areas. These include developing new programs around community priorities, training promotores/as or community liaisons to facilitate access to and navigation into the health care system, and engaging in advocacy.
Keywords: Latino and Latina immigrants, mental health status and service needs, U.S. rural Midwest, community psychology

Author Biographies

Sergio Cristancho, Universidad de Antioquia University of Illinois
Sergio Cristancho, PhD is Research Director, Coordinator of the Mental Health Research Group and Associate Professor at the National School of Public Health, Unviersidad de Antiooquia (Colombia). He also holds an Adjunct Faculty appointment at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, National Center for Rural Health Professions.
Karen Elaine Peters, University of Illinois at Chicago
Dr. Karen Peters is a Clinical Assistant Professor of community health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health and an Assistant Professor in the UIC Graduate College. She directs the Illinois Area Health Education Network. She helped develop the National Center for Rural Health Professions at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, where she continues to serve as the Assistant Director for Research and Evaluation and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of family and community medicine.
Diana Marcela Garces, Universidad de Antioquia
Marcela Garcés is Associate Professor at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, Universidad de Antioquia.

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Published
2016-06-22
How to Cite
Cristancho, S., Peters, K. E., & Garces, D. M. (2016). Community mental health services for Latinos and Latinas in the rural U.S. Revista Interamericana De Psicologia/Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 50(1). https://doi.org/10.30849/rip/ijp.v50i1.86