CAMINO: Integrating Context in the Mental Health Assessment of Immigrant Latinos

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People from Central and South America; Mexico; and the islands of Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico represent a growing number of consumers accessing public sector behavioral health services in the United States. Despite perceived commonalities such as a shared language and cultural values, it is essential to recognize the rich diversity inherent to Latino communities and the complexities associated with each individual’s migration narrative. The authors propose CAMINO, a mnemonic tool designed to facilitate the inquiry of contextual data significant to pre- and postmigration experiences. The task of gathering relevant information regarding community and family supports (C), acculturative stress (A), migration history (M), idioms of distress and resilience (I), native language and preferences (N), and origin (O) may seem intuitive when working with immigrant populations, yet it is often challenging and risks being overlooked in real-world clinical practice. Recommended questions to inform the mental health assessment process and implications for community-based providers are presented.

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