Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Building Equitable Mental Health Care for Latino Children: Perspectives from Providers and Communities

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Background: The current pediatric mental health crisis has disproportionately impacted Latino youth in the United States (US), as demonstrated by their elevated risks of depression, substance use disorder, and anxiety. Despite this, research suggests Latino youth receive inequitable mental health services.

Objective: To understand best practices, challenges, and priorities in providing accessible and equitable mental health care for Latino youth from the perspectives of front-line mental health providers and Latino community members.

Methods: A bicultural, bilingual researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 participants with expertise in Latino mental health. Topics included barriers and facilitators to mental health care access and cultural tailoring of treatment for Latino youth. Rapid qualitative analysis was used to identify themes.

Results: Four themes were identified: (1) Navigating immigration concerns and acculturation, practitioners should consider immigration-related concerns and be trained to address acculturation-related stressors respectfully; (2) Adapting to the cultural needs and strengths of the communities, cultural humility education can allow providers to engage with both the strengths and needs of Latino families; (3) Engaging Latino caregivers as partners, it is critical to engage with Latino caregivers' cultural perspectives on parenting and mental health collaboratively; and (4) Addressing systemic barriers to promote access, providers must recognize and attempt to alleviate the systemic barriers that limit families from seeking care.

Conclusions: Participants identified several practical strategies to improve the provision of mental health services for Latino children. Future directions, policy and practice implications, and limitations are discussed.


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Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities