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Latino Community Report highlights the impact of Mental Health, Suicidal Ideation, and Opioid Use Disorders among Latinos in Ohio

La Prensa - 1/14/2019

COLUMBUS, Dec. 2018: The Latino Affairs Commission in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) has conducted a health equity study to explore the impact of behavioral health issues and use of opioids affecting Hispanic/Latinos in Ohio. The study utilized a mixed method research design analyzing quantitative data from substance abuse treatment admissions in the public behavioral health system and qualitative data from roundtable conversations across the state in 2017-2018.

The Latino Community Report is found on the Commission's website: http://ochla.ohio.gov

Understanding the dynamics that impact mental health, substance abuse and exposure to trauma among Hispanic/Latinos in Ohio is critical to our state's leadership, local governments and healthcare systems. Mixed and immigrant families face unique challenges in their effort to integrate to society as they are exposed to behavioral health issues such as trauma, suicidal ideation, and domestic violence.

Furthermore, social determinants of health, cultural norms and stigma surrounding mental health contribute to low seeking behavior of these constituents to find help for mental health and opioid addiction. One key finding is that one fifth of Latino clients who reported taking opioids also reported having a mental health history. The report highlights the importance for competent prevention and treatment services for behavioral health issues and opioid use disorders for Ohio's Latino community.

As a commission, we have the responsibility to present matters that impact the quality of life for Hispanic Ohioans, and the issues outlined in this report are timely and relevant," stated Lilly Cavanaugh, Executive Director of the Commission [OLA]. The report provides ten policy implications and recommendations for consideration. Dr. Surendra Bir Adhikari, OhioMHAS Health Disparities Research Lead reflected that the study points to the emergent need for culturally and linguistically competent interventions to address the changing Hispanic/Latinos demographics.

Ohio has experienced rapid diversification in its population and the Latino community has doubled since 2000 to an estimated 437,000 in 2017, according to the American Community Survey. Most of this population reside in urban areas and their growth has impacted most counties across the state.

The Ohio Latino Affairs Commission (OLA/OCHLA) is an organization that advises state government on issues affecting Hispanic Ohioans, connects the diverse Latino communities across the state, and builds the capacity of community organizations so they may better serve the fast-growing Latino population of Ohio.