Learning and Teaching Latino Mental Health, Social Justice and Recovery to Visiting Students: A Pilot Study

Learning and Teaching Latino Mental Health, Social Justice and Recovery to Visiting Students: A Pilot Study

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Almost 18% of the U.S. population is estimated to be Hispanic (United States Census Bureau, 2019), and of that, 15% had a diagnosable mental illness in the past year (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2020); still, Latinos receive half as often mental health services compared to Caucasians (Office of Mental Health, 2020). Evidence suggests that minority ethnic groups may receive more inferior care standards due to biased beliefs or attitudes held by health professionals (Shepherd et al., 2018). The number of Latino Psychiatrists is not enough to care for the on-growing Latino population in the U.S. (Alarcón, 2001; American Psychiatric Association, 2017). There is a need to train medical students and residents in cultural competencies pertained to the Latino Culture and Health Services (Alarcón, 2001). We developed a pilot study of a curriculum created by Latino bilingual and bicultural mental health providers. The course lessons include (a) Health Disparities and Implicit Bias, (b) Recovery in Mental Health, (c) Immigration and Acculturation, (d) Cultural Formulation Interview, (e) Latino Values, and (f) Mental Health Systems. All topics focused on Latino Mental Health and used the “reverse classroom” teaching technique with interactive exercises. We measured the impact on knowledge, attitudes, and comfort level related to the concept taught in the lessons of this course. Teaching Latino Mental Health has a positive impact on improving the comfort level and knowledge of students. Nevertheless, there are not enough educational opportunities and information about these topics. Therefore, replicating this curriculum and expanding the education in Latino Mental Health will improve the health services provided to this community.

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