Isabel Medlock Capstone

Over the Summer and Fall I wrote a research paper on the access to mental health care of undocumented immigrants as part of the Drexel Student Fellows program and presented my research at a conference. I became pretty invested in this subject so I decided to continue on this topic for my Capstone. My goal was to raise awareness of the issue and to try to find someway to alleviate the issue in my community. Throughout the year I continued my research and I thought about what would be the most effective way I could create a positive impact on the undocumented community. I had some trouble figuring out what my final product should be and my ideas went through several stages. First I thought I would create PSAs to raise awareness and then I thought about hosting an event. I finally decided to create an online resource guide for young undocumented immigrants that would help lead them to information that could assist them with any issues surrounding mental health and the college application process. Most of my process was spent on the research on the subject itself as well as finding relevant resources. It was hard to find resources meant for immigrants concerning mental health which made me even more aware of the change that needs to be made. Overall, the Capstone process taught me about what it is like to lead your own independent project and difficulties that come with it.

Here is the link to my website:

Annotated Bibliography

Baker, Bryan, and Nancy Rytina. Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2012. Rep. Homeland Security, Mar. 2013. Web. 1 Nov. 2016. <>.

This report from Homeland Security provided me with information on the numbers of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States and the specific demographics of these undocumented immigrants. This report provided me with a more formal definition of what it means to be an undocumented immigrant. I will be using this source to create a brief overview of the population of undocumented immigrants and what the current state of affairs is in my resource guide/website. This source provides very detailed and comprehensive statistics that allowed me to better understand where undocumented immigrants come from and how that might affect their experience with health care services. This source also analyzed trends within recent years in the population, which was pretty useful in understanding the general status of the undocumented population.

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50). Retrieved from data/

This is a government report that details trends in drug use and mental health disorders in the United States. It gives statistics of mental health disorder for various different demographics. I used this source for basic statistics of mental health prevalence in the United States based on socioeconomic class and ethnicity. This source also allowed me to have a general understanding of mental health disorder prevalence in the United States. I chose this source because it contained a lot of statistics that will allow me to establish to others the general landscape in regards to mental health and then compare that to the mental health of undocumented immigrants.

Estrada, Sheryl. "Children of Undocumented Immigrants Face Mental Health Crisis."DiversityInc. N.p., 6 Apr. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2016. <>.

This article discusses two studies which I couldn’t gain access to. The first study is about anxiety and PTSD in undocumented children. The second is about mental health in general in undocumented children. This source is limited in that it isn’t the direct source for the data and just cites parts of the studies but it allowed me to gain a general understanding of mental health disorders in undocumented children. It also provides quotes from experts in the field that I could perhaps use in my project. I used this study to gain a general understanding of mental health in undocumented children to be able to compare that to mental health in the United States in general.

Hacker, Karen, Maria Elise Anies, Barbara Folb, and Leah Zallman. "Barriers to Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants: A Literature Review." Risk Management and Healthcare Policy (2015): 175-83. PMC. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

This is a paper that provides a general overview of previous research within my topic, health care access for undocumented immigrants. The paper cites several studies that provide information about barriers to access, lists these barriers, and analyzes them. I chose this source because it provided me with a comprehensive understanding of what exactly prevents undocumented immigrants from getting general health care. The paper also provided a comprehensive list of recommendations to solve this problem. These recommendations could definitely be included in my resource guide. This source doesn’t really talk about mental health specifically and is limited in that regard.

Nandi, Arijit, Sandro Galea, Gerald Lopez, Vijay Nandi, Stacey Strongarone, and Danielle C. Ompad. "Access to and Use of Health Services Among Undocumented Mexican Immigrants in a US Urban Area." American Journal of Public Health 98.11 (2008): 2011-020. Print.

This paper is similar to the Hacker paper in that it also is centered on access to general Health services for undocumented immigrants. However, this paper presents original research and gives specific statistics of the number of undocumented immigrants who have access. It breaks down this information by different demographics such as income and education. It is also gives statistics about instances of discrimination. It analyzes this information and specifies which characteristics mean less access to health care. I used this study to gain an understanding of what types of things stop undocumented immigrants from gaining general health care. Like the Hacker paper it does not mention mental health services in specific so it is not useful in that regard.

Perez, M. Carmela, and Lisa Fortuna. "Chapter 6. Psychosocial Stressors, Psychiatric Diagnoses and Utilization of Mental Health Services Among Undocumented Immigrant Latinos." Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Services 3.1-2 (2005): 107-23. Print.

This paper posits that undocumented immigrant latinos face a unique set of circumstances that increases the likelihood of certain mental health disorders while also lessening their opportunities to gain access to mental health care services and adequate treatment. This is one of the few sources I could find focusing specifically on mental health and not just general health care. It provides specific statistics on the mean number of mental health related appointments those who gained treatment planned as well as the prevalence of specific stressors and psychiatric disorders. I will be using this source to explain the general situation of mental health care for undocumented immigrants.

"Prevalence." N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2017. <>.

This is a collection of statistics compiled by encompassing the prevalence of psychiatric disorders and the demographics with higher risk of psychiatric disorder. Although this website is not the original source for these statistics I feel confident in the reliability of the information due to the number of citations from other reports and papers. I will be using this source for its statistics regarding the disparity of treatment opportunities between white children and minority children as well as the difference in prevalence between these two groups. Additionally, this source reveals disparity in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders between children from families of different socioeconomic status which I will use to further prove how income greatly affects access to treatment.

Pumariega, Andres J., Eugenio Rothe, and JoAnne B. Pumariega. "Mental health of immigrants and refugees." Community mental health journal 41.5 (2005): 581-597.

This paper reflects on the mental health of immigrants and refugees in general, providing an overview the stressors this population faces, the process of acculturation, the needs of the population, and the current access to mental health care services. Although this paper does not focus on undocumented immigrants it does offer insights into feelings all immigrants feel, whatever their legal status, such as alienation. The paper also talks specifically about immigrant children who may feel alienated from their native culture. I will use this source to provide information about the stress immigration can bring and how children are affected by this in particular.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). Mental Health, United States, 2010. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4681. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This report details trends in mental health service use by demographic. Although this source does not have data on undocumented immigrants specifically it will still be useful in creating a comparison between normal use of mental health care services and that of undocumented immigrants. I am using this report to provide information on my resource guide as to how many people use mental health services, how many people who need to use mental health services actually do, and how long their treatment time usually is. I will then compare this information with the data I learned from the Teunissen paper and the Fortuna and Perez paper.

Teunissen, Erik, et al. "Mental health problems of undocumented migrants (UMs) in the Netherlands: a qualitative exploration of help-seeking behaviour and experiences with primary care." BMJ open 4.11 (2014): e005738.

This paper details mental health of undocumented immigrants in the Netherlands and contains an analysis of a series of interviews conducted with this population. This paper has information on the common psychiatric stressors as well as barriers to treatment. I will be using the clips the paper provides from the interviews in my project to showcase the fears immigrants have in regards to health care. Although this study was conducted in the Netherlands were the situation for undocumented immigrants is not exactly the same as it is in the United States I am sure that many of the same feelings and fears are present in the US.

Warren, Robert. "US undocumented population drops below 11 million in 2014, with continued declines in the Mexican undocumented population." J. on Migration & Hum. Sec. 4 (2016): 1.

This paper analyzes the population of undocumented immigrants in the United States. It breaks down the recent trends into separate demographics such as country of origin and population by state. This source does not discuss the reasons behind these trends but does mention that perhaps the decrease overall in the undocumented population is due to immigrants becoming legal citizens. I will be using this paper to explain the status of the population undocumented immigrants in the United States and explain where a majority of these immigrants come from. This will allow me to connect the origins of the undocumented population to potential cultural barriers to mental health services.

Zamosky, Lisa. "Healthcare Options for Undocumented Immigrants." LA Times. N.p., 27 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Nov. 2016. <>.

This article tells the story of an undocumented immigrant and her experience with mental health care. I will be using this source as an example of one person’s experience as an undocumented immigrant in the United States. I can perhaps link this to my website for guidance counselors to read so that they can better understand the issues undocumented immigrants face when contemplating health care and the future. This isn’t the most reliable source but it is useful for creating an emotional appeal to those who don’t have a full understanding of my topic.