Perceptions of child mental health amongst the Latino community including knowledge of child mental health services

Mental health is an essential part of a child's overall health. Over the years there have been many studies on the underutilization of mental health services in the Latino population. Many studies examine the barriers to mental health, but there is very little information about how perceptions of mental health services impact service utilization. The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions of Latino adults in regards to accessing child mental health services, and examine factors that influence the utilization of child mental health services among Latino parents. A quantitative descriptive research design was used for this study and sample recruited for this study was composed of 25 male and 48 female participants attending a voluntary well-being workshop through an organization in Merced County. Participants were all above the age of 18, and identified as being parents. The results of this study indicate statistically significant differences between participants who were born in the United States versus those who were born outside of the United States regarding their perceptions of child mental health. Findings suggest that ensuring that Latino families have an understanding of child mental health, as well as access to services, is important as the population of Latinos in the United States continues to rise rapidly. Recommendations to improve mental health care amongst the Latino population would be to promote mental health services in primary care centers, educate professionals, and to increase the proportion of Latino health professionals.