The Role of Community Health Workers in Delivering Interventions Targeting Depression for Priority Populations

Julia Ward Bloomstine

Abstract


Social and behavioral factors such as culturally-held beliefs about illnesses, discomfort disclosing health information, and language barriers can inhibit a person’s ability to receive or adhere to healthcare practices and lead to vulnerability among the target community. Community Health Workers (CHWs) are individuals who work with community members and healthcare providers to help deliver health services to their communities.  CHWs are able to directly reach individuals who, due to cultural and language barriers, experience limitations in accessing healthcare services. CHWs serve their communities by providing health knowledge, translation services, and self-care training to promote health and wellness. Current research demonstrates effectiveness of CHWs in providing support through access to community health services, which leads to chronic physical disease management and prevention.  However, few studies have sought to assess the role of CHWs in delivering mental healthcare interventions to priority populations. The purpose of this report is to review the literature on care delivery offered by CHW’s and provide commentary on the following: (1) impact of depression on priority communities and the role of CHWs in providing support; and (2) ways by which mobile devices might support the work of community health workers.


Keywords


Community Health Workers; Depression; mHealth

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