This study examined variation in mental health service use among U.S. Latinos by place of origin and service provider type.
Data were obtained from the National Latino and Asian American Study. The sample for this study consisted of 2,533 Latino adults, including Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and other Latinos. Use of services from specialty mental health providers, general medical providers, and other providers was examined. Guided by Andersen’s behavioral model of health service use, logistic regression models were conducted.
Although over one-fifth of the sample (21.3%) had a psychiatric disorder, only 9.6% reported that they received any mental health services in the past 12 months. Overall, Puerto Ricans were more likely than the other Latino subgroups to use any mental health services. Respondents with a psychiatric disorder were more likely to use mental health services from all provider types, but the effect of having a psychiatric disorder on use of general medical care providers was greater among Mexicans than among Puerto Ricans.
Findings suggest the existence of variations among Latino subgroups in mental health service use by provider type and place of origin. Mental health professionals should provide tailored outreach and services to this vulnerable population, which underutilizes mental health services. Further research should examine variation in mental health service use by immigrant legal status.