One out of five children in the United States has a mental, emotional, or behavioral health diagnosis. Behavioral health issues cost America $247 billion per year and those with mental health disorders have poorer health and shorter lives. Evidence-based parenting interventions provided in childhood have proven to be effective in helping parents to prevent disruptive, oppositional and defiant behaviors, anxiety and depressive symptoms, tobacco, alcohol, and drug misuse, aggression, delinquency, and violence. Yet, few parents participate in such programs, especially hard-to-reach, underserved minority and immigrant populations. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has identified a culture of health action framework that mobilizes individuals, communities, and organizations in order to examine ways to improve systems of prevention, invest in building the evidence base for such systems, and provide evidence-based information to decision makers. The overarching goal of this effort was to create a culture of mental health among Filipinos, a large, yet understudied immigrant community that is affected by alarming mental health disparities, including high rates of adolescent suicide ideation and attempts. Our impact project focused on increasing the reach of the Incredible Years® because maximizing the participation of high-risk, hard-to-engage populations may be one of the most important ways to increase the population-level impact of evidence-based parenting programs. If the approach succeeded with Filipinos, comparable strategies could be used to effectively reach other underserved populations in the U.S., many of whom are reluctant to seek behavioral health services. In this chapter we discuss 1) the state of the literature on the topic of Filipino adolescent mental health disparities; 2) our wicked problem and the impact project aimed at ameliorating this issue; 3) how our team formed and implemented our impact project; 4) outcomes and results of our efforts; 5) challenges we faced and how they were overcome; 6) the leadership and health equity skills that were most helpful in addressing our problem; and 7) a toolkit that could assist other communities addressing youth mental health and prevention of suicide and depression.
Part of the book: Leading Community Based Changes in the Culture of Health in the US