Date of Graduation

Summer 8-10-2018

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr. Dory Escobar

Second Advisor

Jaclynn Davis, MPH, MSW

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathy Raffel

Abstract

As rates of mental health issues worsen for Latinx adolescents, many barriers to utilizing mental health services increase. Mental health education shows promise in improving outcomes and decreasing potential barriers to utilization of mental health services among Latinx high school students. The purpose of this project was to pilot a mental health education course with Latinx (gender neutral term for Latino/a) high school students in Marin County and to evaluate its outcomes. A mental health curriculum and evaluation surveys were constructed, which focused on mental health knowledge, help-seeking, and attitudes and beliefs. Seven Latinx female high school students from Marin County participated. Analysis of qualitative data from the pre- and post-test surveys demonstrated that after the course all participants agreed that not seeking help when facing mental health challenges would result in negative outcomes, and seeking such help would be beneficial for them; more participants disagreed that asking for help when needed would make them look weak; and more participants indicated they were now very likely and confident to seek help if they believed they are facing mental health challenges. One unexpected outcome was that compared to the pre-test, more participants in the post-test agreed that they would avoid a person who had mental health challenges. Further evaluation should explore this outcome. Recommendations for integrating mental health educational interventions into high school curriculums are discussed.

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