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Abstract

This study explored role of the family and mental health service utilization by older Mexican-Americans. Using qualitative exploration, the study investigated family factors influencing their mental health service utilization. The researcher used a purposive sample and interviewed 20 older Mexican Americans, who completed outpatient mental health services located in Texas. Kleinman’s explanatory model (1980) guided the ethnographic content analysis. Findings show the family took several roles to facilitate use of mental health services. The family was involved with respondents throughout the process of help-seeking and accessing mental health services. Family members helped respondents recognize their mental distress by noticing behavior signs and working with their physician. The family shared feedback with the doctor to help facilitate the respondent making the decision to go to treatment. The family motivated respondents by recognizing and acknowledging changes and progress in the treatment program.

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