Mental Health Needs of an Emerging Latino Community

Linda Bucay-Harari, Kathleen R. Page, Noa Krawczyk, Yvonne P. Robles, Carlos Castillo-Salgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last decade, Baltimore has become a non-traditional sanctuary city, receiving an unprecedented influx of Latino immigrants, mostly from Central America’s Northern Triangle, who are often fleeing violence in their home countries. This study explored the nature and frequency of healthcare utilization for mental health problems among uninsured/uninsurable Latinos who received outpatient care between 2012 and 2015 through an academic hospital-affiliated program that covers primary and specialty services to uninsured patients without regard to documentation status. Encounters for mental health disorders were the most common category, accounting for 14.88% of all visits. Mood (78%) and anxiety disorders (16%) were the most prevalent mental health diagnoses. The most frequent reason to seek care was symptom, signs, and ill-defined conditions (37.47%), and within this subgroup, pain was the leading cause of seeking care (88%), which may indicate high rates of somatization of mental health distress. This study presents a unique opportunity to explore the burden and nature of mental health needs among a population for which healthcare information is rarely attainable and highlights the need for culturally competent screening mechanisms and interventions to address the stressors faced by emergent communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-398
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Immigrant community
  • Latino health
  • Mental health
  • Migration
  • Social health inequities
  • Undocumented immigrant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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