Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Latino Children in Immigrant Families

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Abstract

Latino children in the United States, whether immigrants themselves or children in immigrant families, are at high risk for mental health disorders stemming from poverty, exposure to trauma, assimilation stressors, and discrimination. The timely identification and treatment of mental health disorders in Latino children are compromised by limited healthcare access and quality as well as the lack of routine mental health screening in pediatric primary care. Here we review Spanish-language validity and implementation studies of Bright Futures previsit mental health screening tools and models of care. We identify strengths and weaknesses in the literature and suggest tools for use in mental health care assessment, management, and treatment for Latino children in pediatric primary care. Pediatricians can improve care of Latino children through awareness of risk factors for mental health disorders, integration of evidence-based screening tools, and advocacy for culturally tailored mental health resources.

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