Q1: What are the perceived MH needs and determinants of MH functioning and utilization of MH services of Latinx emerging adults?
Q2: What are the priorities of Latinx emerging adults for MH screening, referral, and services at the consulate?
Methods: Our study draws from mixed-methods studies of Latinx immigrants. The first study consisted of repeated interviews with adolescent youth of mixed-status families. Interviews explored youth’s perceptions of social determinants of wellbeing in their lives, including immigration policy. They discussed how immigration climate limits their lives and identities, and their psychological wellbeing. The second study consisted of surveys with Mexican immigrants visiting a health fair at the Mexican Consulate General of Austin. We assessed social determinants of mental health, perceived mental health burden, and patrons’ preferences for MH services in the community and at the consulate’s VDS. We will also present data from focus groups that are underway with 15 emerging adults 16-18 years of age, 15 adults aged 19-25 and 30 parents, covering topics about perceived MH needs and determinants of functioning and service utilization. We will use the logic model of pathways to MH needs and services for this population to provide participants with a starting point for discussion. Participants also complete a demographics questionnaire, MH screening and stress measures, and a brief report on their perceived needs for a variety of MH services at the time of the focus group.
Findings: Participants to date (a) reported significant stress in their lives, especially related to the immigration status of their families and social discourse on immigration, (b) identified a significant demand for mental health services in their community, both individual and family, (c) were unfamiliar with MH services in the community, (d) were open to receiving these services through the VDS, and (e) revealed transportation and immigration climate as barriers to receiving MH services. Youth felt burdened by immigration climate and racism against their parents and felt physiologically connected to U.S. and Mexican cultures. Trust in the VDS was a facilitator to accessing services.
Conclusions and Implications: Ongoing data collection will inform the role of familial obligations, personal expectations and efficacy in the transition to emerging adulthood, as well as immigration policy (e.g., DACA) in the MH status of emerging adults. The knowledge gained provides the foundation for creating a sustainable MH model for the VDS tailored to Latinx emerging adults.