Depression is a major public health problem among Latino migrants in the United States and the burden falls disproportionately on women. Overthe past twenty years. Latino migration has shifted from traditional urban settlements to new settlements often located in rural and frontier areas. Rural-frontier settlements are often pooriy equipped to accommodate the mental health needs of Mexican migrant women. Migrants to these settlements also face a distinctively challenging context characterized by limited employment opportunities for women, a weak social service base, a majority culture that opposes immigration, and large geographic expanses, which combine to isolate migrant women and imbue their daily lives with fear. Few studies have examined depression among Mexican migrant women in new rural-frontier destinations. The purpose of this exploratory project is to develop and confirm a cultural model of depression specific to Mexican migrant women in a rural-frontier settlement. Building on a 6-year university-community partnership focused on rural migrant family health, this project will use a community-based participatory research approach (CBPR), which is essential to developing trust and partnerships with both documented and undocumented migrant women who are hard-to-reach and hidden. The project has assembled an interdisciplinary team of researchers and community partners and employs a mixed method design.
Specific aims are to: 1) conceptualize a model of depression as described by frontier Mexican migrant women using focus group and in-depth interview methodologies (N = 125);2) examine individual, familial, and contextual correlates of depression quantitatively through survey methods (N = 450);3) using interpretive focus groups (N = 40), partner with Mexican migrant women to identify appropriate leverage points for community-based intervention;and 4) develop and pilot a culturally- and contextually-based migrant mental health intervention (N = 15-20). Accomplishing our speciflc aims will contribute to the long-term goals of implemenfing a culturally-responsive, participatory, and community- and evidenced-based migrant mental health intervention in a new frontier destination with limited human capital and health care infrastructure.
Mexican migrant women settling in new rural-frontier destinations are at-risk for depression. Communitybased research is needed to understand the lived experiences of Mexican women on the migration frontier, their mental health, and the individual, familial, and contextual correlates of their mental health. This research will contribute to the development of culturally- and contextually-relevant mental health intervention.