Shirley Sonia Arteaga

Shirley Sonia Arteaga

2006 PhD - Human Services Psychology - University of Maryland, Baltimore

Truman State University



Mentor: William Woodward, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Psychology

Mental Health Legislation and the Latino Community, 1963-1996

Federal mental health legislation since the 1960's has had a significant impact on the Latino communities. During the Kennedy administration the focus shifted from mental hospitals to community-based centers. The former relied on in-patient treatment, while the latter used out-patient care. Not only did the focus in treatment styles change, but there was a new emphasis placed on minority groups. In particular, the mental health community began to address issues in the Latino populations. Efforts to become sensitive to the needs of these communities have evolved and continue to change.

I examined trends relating to the effects of mental health legislation on the Latino communities, which up until now has received little attention. Using secondary and tertiary sources, I found that while the umbrella term Latino encompasses a variety of different ethnic and racial groups, it is important to examine each group individually. Differences between the mental health needs of Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans illustrates degrees of acculturation.

This historical analysis reveals the impact of the federal government on the mental health status of Latinos. Implications of this study can be used in developing future mental health legislation that would provide adequate services within Latino communities.

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