Preferences for trauma-related mental health services among Latina immigrants from Central America, South America, and Mexico.

Author(s): Kaltman S,  Hurtado-de-Mendoza A,  Gonzales FA,  Serrano AM

Journal: Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy

Date: 2014 Jan

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): CPFP

PubMed ID:

PMC ID: not available

Abstract: Latinos in the United States (U.S.) experience disparities in the detection and treatment of mental disorders. Although previous research has found that Latinos prefer individual psychotherapy and treatment in a primary care setting for common trauma-related mental disorders (e.g., depression, posttraumatic stress disorder), reasons for these treatment preferences are not fully understood and preferences regarding other mental health treatment characteristics are not known. Using a mixed-methods approach, the current study sought to identify preferences for treatment modality, type of psychotherapy, type of provider, and setting, as well as the influences of logistical factors and potential barriers on the help-seeking behaviors of trauma-exposed Latina immigrants who met screening criteria for PTSD and/or depression and were receiving health care in a primary care clinic. Consistent with previous research, participants expressed a preference for individual therapy, particularly supportive psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Participants preferred receiving mental health care in a primary care clinic by a mental health specialist. Cost emerged as the most important logistical consideration when determining whether to seek services. Unfamiliarity with mental health services and confidentiality concerns, particularly regarding immigration status, were identified as additional barriers that may decrease the likelihood of seeking treatment for depression or PTSD. Providers will need to be creative in incorporating the treatment preferences of Latinos in cost-efficient interventions. Efforts to decrease the mental health disparities faced by the growing Latino population may include psychoeducation, hybrid treatments, and systems-level interventions to integrate mental health treatment into primary care settings.