The stressful experiences that Latino immigrants face throughout the migration process to the United States put them at increased risk for poor mental health. Latinas are at heightened risk due to stigma, limited access to mental health resources, domestic violence, and gender role expectations. In addition, for those who live in new immigrant settlement areas, such as the Southeast, these disparities are magnified by even fewer culturally appropriate services and limited social support. This study evaluates the impact of ALMA (Amigas Latinas Motivando el Alma/Latina Friends Motivating the Soul), a pilot promotora intervention offered in three North Carolina counties to improve mental health among Latinas by offering coping skills training. The intervention trained community-based promotoras to conduct outreach to Latina women in their social network (companeras). Using a pre-post test design, we assessed the mental health outcomes of companeras. Companeras improved on the following outcomes: depressive symptoms, attitudes of depression treatment, perceived and acculturative stress, perceived social support, and positive coping responses. Our findings suggest that promotora interventions, such as ALMA, that focus on building self-care strategies can be valuable to reducing preclinical symptoms and addressing health care disparities that are exacerbated by unavailable or underused mental health services.
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