Abstract: If You Build It, Will They Come? Addressing Mental Health Treatment Gaps in Latinos

Mental disorders are commonly occurring and major drivers of suffering, disability, health care cost, and disease burden. To compound this problem, most of the individuals who suffer from mental disorders and are in need of treatment remain untreated although effective treatments are available. In this presentation, Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola will examine the extent of this treatment gap in ethnically and racially diverse populations in the United States. He will present examples of how treatment gap data is being translated into policy and services in a way that addresses the unmet mental health needs of underserved populations at state and local levels. He will conclude with a demonstration from a local example of how communities and diverse constituencies are coming together to build partnerships and organize to make decisions and achieve transformative social action that hopefully will lead to the reduction of mental health disparities. Finally, Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola will present a framework that provides grassroots community-defined recommendations that: (1) strengthen meaningful outreach and engagement, (2) build mental health leadership in the Latino community, and (3) build local capacity aimed at improving mental health outcomes and reducing disparities.