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Salud Libre

projects-images-1-saludProject Salud Libre was an assessment of mental health needs among the mostly rural and largely Mexican American communities in California’s Imperial Valley. The assessment consisted of data gathered through surveys, structured focus groups, and key stakeholder interviews. Activities were conducted in Spanish and English across many locations spanning Imperial County. The surveys
compiled demographic, acculturation, mental health symptom, service access and utilization, care preference, and related information. It identified common stressors, psychological responses, prevalent medical conditions, substance abuse patterns, unmet service needs, and the way people in the area try to cope with physical and mental challenges. It then recommended strategies to deal with unmet service needs.

This report presents the findings of Project Salud Libre, a mental health needs assessment conducted among Imperial County, California’s communities in 2005 and 2006. The assessment was performed by Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Inc. with major consultation from Professional & Personal Excellence International.

Best national data show that people living in US rural settings face significant healthcare access barriers. They often have lower family incomes and are less likely to be covered by health
insurance than their urban counterparts.

In addition, fewer skilled providers are available in rural than urban settings. Culturally and linguistically distinct groups, such as Latinos, also tend to experience disparities in healthcare. Latinos in rural settings thus face the potential double eopardy of regional and ethnic-specific service deficits.

These circumstances are true for mental as well as physical healthcare. Nationally, limited mental health services for rural and culturally distinct populations have been cited as causing several problems. Fewer people obtain any care at all. Those who do get help receive it later in the course of their illness. Consequences include more severe, persistent, and disabling .

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