Institute for Community Research
Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Older Hartford Residents

Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Older Hartford Residents


Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Older Hartford Residents

This three-year study identified the predictors and prevalence of depression and anxiety in a residential community of older, primarily minority, adults living in public and private senior housing in Hartford, CT and determined the barriers and facilitators to clinical care for this population. The study assessed the use of non-clinical community resources and the significance of family and community support systems in the treatment of mental health problems. It also explored how individual or personal understandings and definitions of depression and anxiety impacted the effectiveness of mental health clinical care and treatment for this population. We used in-depth interviews to identify barriers and facilitators to clinical care, community coping strategies and resources and culturally based definitions of depression and anxiety. The project sought to formulate a “building-based” approach to education, support, and referral for depression, anxiety, and related mental health problems. Information about these areas can assist in promoting culturally appropriate services, thus improving access to, and efficacy of, mental health services for low income older adults of diverse ethnic/cultural backgrounds. An anticipated outcome of the project was the development of an advocacy network (with national collaboration) to improve funding for mental health service delivery to older adults.

Project Staff

Jean J. Schensul, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Kim Radda, M.A., R.N.
Co-Principal Investigator/Project Director

William Disch, Ph.D.
Senior Research Analyst

Michelle So, B.A.
Data Manager

Evelyn Baez, B.A.
Community Researcher

Ken Brockman, H.S.
Community Researcher

Leslie Escobales, B.A.
Research Assistant

Braceland Center
Julie Robison Ph.D.
Site Principal Investigator

Sonia Gaztambide, M.P.H.
Community Researcher

Stefanie Kniep

Carmen Reyes, M.P.A.
Site Principal Investigator

Hartford Hospital
Gretchen Dieffenbach, Ph.D


Please read the project abstract here.

Clinical Advisory Committee Members

Charter Oak/Rice Heights Health Center

Hartford Behavioral Health

Institute for the Hispanic Family

Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital Mental Health Network, Geriatric Programs & Emergency

St. Francis Hospital Behavioral Health/PATH Outpatient Services

Capital Region Mental Health Center

National Advisory Committee

Peter Guarnaccia, Ph.D., Institute for Health, Health Care Policy & Aging Research, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Cathy S. Berkman, Ph.D., MSW, Fordham University, Graduate School of Social Service

Madeline Iris, Ph.D., Northwestern University, Buehler Center on Aging

Zibin Guo, Ph.D., University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, Dept. of Sociology/Anthropology/Geography

David Schonfeld, M.D., Yale University, Pediatrics and Child Care Study Center