Addressing behavioral health disparities for Somali immigrants through group cognitive behavioral therapy led by community health workers

Report Author: 
Pratt, R., Ahmed, M., Noor, S., Sharif, H., Raymond, N., & Williams, C
Original Date of Publication: 
December, 2015

Community health workers have the potential to be utilized in a wide range of contexts, including to reduce mental health disparities among immigrant and refugee communities. This study examined the mental health outcomes for a group of Somali women in Minnesota, who come from a community where Western mental health services are often viewed as "a last resort". The women participated in a group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention delivered by trained Somali women community health workers. Participants reported significant improvements in mood, level of happiness, and decreases in anxiety level. Focus groups with participants also revealed a high level of enthusiasm for the group CBT intervention, as women reported that they were excited to share the skills they learned in the group with their friends and relatives. Through sharing their mental health struggles with other community members, the researchers argue that this intervention may contribute to reducing stigma toward seeking mental health services among the larger Somali community. Results revealed that the delivery of the intervention by trained peer community health workers was a key component of its success. (Immigrant Integration Lab)

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Citation: 

Pratt, R., Ahmed, N., Noor, S., Sharif, H., Raymond, N., & Williams, C. (2017). Addressing Behavioral Health Disparities for Somali Immigrants Through Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Led by Community Health Workers. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 19(1), 187–193. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-015-0338-2

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