Addressing Emotional Wellness During the COVID-19 Pandemic: the Role of Promotores in Delivering Integrated Mental Health Care and Social Services

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Prev Chronic Dis. 2021, May 27; 18: E53. doi: 10.5888 / pcd18.200656.


INTRODUCTION: The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Latino communities has resulted in increased reports of depression, anxiety and stress. We present a community-led intervention in Latino communities that integrates social services with mental health service delivery for a justice-based response.

METHODS: We used tracking sheets to identify 1,436 unique participants (ages 5 to 86 years old) participating in Latino Health Access’ Emotional Wellness program, 346 of whom were in the pre-COVID-19 period (March 2019 – February 2020) and 1,090 were enrolled in the COVID -19 period (March-June 2020). Demographics and types of services were aggregated to assess monthly trends using Pearson χ2 tests. Regression models were developed to compare factors associated with remittances in the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods.

RESULTS: During the pandemic, the service volume (P <0.001) and the subscriber volume (P <0.001) increased significantly compared to the prepandemic period. The characteristics of the participants were similar in both periods. The only differences were the age distribution, expanded geographic reach, and increased male participation during the pandemic. Unreferenced services such as peer support increased during the pandemic. The nature of referrals changed significantly from predominantly psychiatric services and disease management in the prepandemic to affordable housing support, food aid and additional income.

CONCLUSION: An effective mental health program in response to the pandemic must include direct mental health services and address social needs that exacerbate the mental health risk for Latino communities. This study presents a model for integrating both factors through the use of promoter-led programs.

PMID: 34043502 | DOI: 10.5888 / pcd18.200656

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