In 2020, 18.4% of Hispanics experienced mental illness, yet only about a third received treatment compared with nearly half of non-Hispanic Whites. In Montana, where only 11% of the mental health needs are currently met, service utilization is low. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of the Hispanic immigrant population in a rural state on mental health and professional service utilization.
Using a descriptive phenomenological approach, we conducted semi-structured telephone interviews in Spanish. Audio recordings were transcribed, translated to English, and analyzed for themes.
We recruited a sample of 14 participants from Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela ranging in age from 33 to 59. We identified five themes: definitions of mental health, maintaining mental health, familismo/socialization, stigma, and acculturation stress.
Novel findings point to the need for Spanish-language services focused on reducing stigma around mental illness and incorporating the importance of social connections.