A Community-Engaged Research Approach to Improve Mental Health Among Latina Immigrants: ALMA Photovoice.
Recent Latina immigrants are at increased risk of poor mental health due to stressors associated with adapting to life in the United States. Existing social and health care policies often do not adequately address the mental health concerns of new Latino populations. Amigas Latinas Motivando el Alma, a community-partnered research project, seeks to improve immigrant Latinas' mental health outcomes. Using Photovoice methodology, promotoras (lay health advisors) reflected on community factors affecting mental health through photography and guided discussion. Discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded using content analysis to identify salient themes. Promotoras reviewed codes to develop themes that they presented in community forums to reach local policy makers and to increase community awareness. These forums included an exhibit of the promotoras' photographs and discussion of action steps to address community concerns. Themes included transitioning to life in the United States, parenting, education, and combating racism. Nearly 150 stakeholders attended the community forums and proposed responses to promotoras' photographic themes. Our findings suggest that Photovoice provides an opportunity for Latinas and the larger community to identify issues that they find most important and to explore avenues for action and change by creating sustainable partnerships between the community and forum attendees.
Perez, G; Della Valle, P; Paraghamian, S; Page, R; Ochoa, J; Palomo, F; Suarez, E; Thrasher, A; Tran, AN; Corbie-Smith, G
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