The Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health Coalition Latino Mental Health Survey

Editorial

 

 

By Armando Vazquez

In Oxnard t we do not know where to turn to seek out help with our mental health issues. This is why the Oxnard multicultural Mental Health (OMMH) coalition is such a critical and unique community mental health movement and agent of change.  We are working together toward mental wellness.

The Latino sub-committee of the OMMH has just completed an initial round of mental health needs survey for this community in the Oxnard area.  95% of the respondents indicated that they, or someone they knew, had a mental health problem. When asked if they thought that mental illness was a serious health problem 95% indicated in the affirmative. Anger issues were at 68 %, followed by mood swings at 58%, depression at 53%, and suicide at 48%.  These were the most frequent multiple mental problems that the respondents encountered.

When asked if they had health insurance 58% indicated they had some form of health insurance, most of the 42% respondents that did not have health insurance indicated that they could not afford to purchase coverage. 53% of the respondents indicated that the yearly income was below $20,000 and 43% of the respondents indicated that their income was over $50,000 a year. This is an important finding as it clearly indicates that when folks can afford to purchase health insurance they do so. Proving low cost and universal access to health insurance continues to be a major struggle for low income families in our community.

95% or our respondents indicated that mental health was a major issue in their lives, yet when asked if they knew how to call for help or seek out services for mental health problems 69% indicated that they did not know how to access it. If the respondent did know how to access mental health services 57% indicated that the person (their current mental health providers) contacted could not speak to them in the appropriate language of the caller requesting assistance.

86% indicated they would call a family member or a close friend, only 5% indicated that they would call a doctor or medical clinic. In a crisis situation the respondent was asked who they would feel comfortable calling, 82% indicated family members or a close friend, 16% indicated that they would call 911, none of the respondent indicated that they would call the police, a very revealing finding.

When the OMMH Oxnard Latino mental health survey asked the respondent what do you do to relieve mental stress, the multiple responses indicated that 37% consumed alcohol or drugs, 31% indicated that they sought out friends or family for help. 11% of the respondents indicated they tried to sleep off the mental health issue, while 16% indicated they would try to eat their way out of it.  21% indicated they have tried some form of exercise for relief. Not one of the respondents indicated they would initially seek out the help of a doctor or a medical clinic. None indicated they currently see a mental health professional. This a glaring revelation since admitted that they, or someone close to them, has mental health issues or problems.

So in conclusion what do the initial finds of the OMMH Oxnard Latino mental health survey reveal? We find that the OMMH Oxnard Latino community is primarily dealing with a major mental health pandemic on their own, and they do not know currently how to get or access services. The current institutional construct for the delivery of mental health services for the Oxnard Latino community is deeply flawed; the community is largely ignorant to the current mental health services provided and does not trust the current mental health service delivery. We need to look at other approaches to address our current and glaring gaps and disparities in the delivery of mental health services in our Oxnard community.

The mission of the OMMH is to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and influence local behavioral health policy, eliminate disparities in funding and access to services, and improve the quality of services and treatment outcomes for all our special population groups of our community.

The OMMH values, recognizes, and appreciates the uniqueness and diversity of all individuals. Our commitment is to create an environment where all people feel respected, welcomed and loved. We recognize the right of human beings to be treated with dignity and respect. We are dedicated to enhancing cultural sensitivity and cultural competency in all of our work. This promotes our wellness and growth as individuals and as a community.
The mission of the OMMH is to promote the health and well-being of diverse communities by pursuing universal community involvement in their wellness, research, training, continuing education, technical assistance, information dissemination and community defined practices advocacy/education/public relations, within a prevention, early intervention, and treatment framework that recognize the unique cultural and linguistic contexts of these populations.

Oxnard multicultural Mental Health (OMMH) Meeting at Cafe on A in February 2015

The time has come for the current institutional mental health providers, local politicians and community stakeholders to support community based solution to community problems and issues! Together we can create a local and powerful system of culturally congruent/sensitive mental health and wellness programs and services that place the unique needs of the individual and the special populations of our local community front and center directly involved in the mental health healing and wellness.

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Armando Vazquez

Armando Vazquez is a retired CEO, Executive Director, Business-Owner, teacher, community builder, group leader with demonstrated work history designing and implementing a variety of business, management, educational and vocational community support programs. Successful organizer of activities designed to promote and advance individual and community. Well-disciplined consensus builder.

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