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Why study Mental Health?

Much of what we know about mental health and mental illness comes from epidemiological studies that seek to identify the rates of mental disorders such as Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Schizophrenia, to name just a few. These illnesses affect tens of millions of people but only a fraction of these receive treatment.

El Centro focuses on mental health issues as they pertain to co-occurring with other health conditions that we study: HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), substance abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV). Co-occurring mental health problems are important to consider and treat because they can increase a person’s risk for or magnify the effects of substance abuse, HIV infection and IPV. Co-occurring mental health conditions can also affect how someone responds to and follows recommended treatment.

What are we doing at El Centro to help prevent mental health in racial, ethnic and sexual minority groups?

El Centro supports innovative treatment research on such symptoms as depression and anxiety.  These symptoms may be reported as the primary presenting complaints in some individuals or have been identified as co-occurring with HIV/AIDS and other STIs, Intimate Partner Violence, and Substance Abuse in other individuals.