Community health workers: Change agents for improved anxiety and depression in mental health professional shortage areas

Joseph Edward Duarte Perales, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: An abundance of literature has contributed to examining the state of Latino’s health along the U.S./Mexico border. However, few studies have focused on behavioural health and the use of Community Health Workers (CHW’s). This study will explore the relationship between the use of Community Health Workers and improved mental health outcomes and their implications for use in mental health professional workforce shortage areas. Methods: This study will utilize secondary data analysis in the examination of a behavioral intervention trial examining anxiety and depression at baseline, 6 and 12 months after the adapted, Your Health Matters intervention called Tu Salud Si Cuenta (TSSC). This study will focus on identifying factors associated with a reduction of anxiety and depression among participants receiving the promotora-delivered intervention in comparison to a control group. Lastly, this study will assess the qualitative aspects of the CHW-participant relationship that may influence or is influenced by anxiety and depression through the use of a semi-structured interview. Hypothesis of Results: The development of symptom reflective strata for anxiety and depression in a community sample aids in capturing observational patterns that would be otherwise be undetected. CHWs act as an effect modifier in symptom reflective strata of anxiety and depression in community intervention. Qualitative data from participant responses reveal that generally CHWs are perceived as a benefit and possess the capacity to assist in reducing perceived impact of anxiety and depression. Conclusions: CHW’s are a vital resource in a community’s continuum of care and when infused into community health systems, patient centered medical homes and mental health shortage areas can assist in establishing favourable mental health outcomes. Keywords: community health workers, border mental health, community health worker-workforce development, non-clinical mental health interventions, Latino mental health, mental health professional shortages/areas.

Subject Area

Social work|Public health|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Perales, Joseph Edward Duarte, "Community health workers: Change agents for improved anxiety and depression in mental health professional shortage areas" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3731977.