Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 187–193 | Cite as

Addressing Behavioral Health Disparities for Somali Immigrants Through Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Led by Community Health Workers

  • Rebekah PrattEmail author
  • Nimo Ahmed
  • Sahra Noor
  • Hiba Sharif
  • Nancy Raymond
  • Chris Williams
Original Paper


To test the feasibility and acceptability of implementing an evidence-based, peer-delivered mental health intervention for Somali women in Minnesota, and to assess the impact of the intervention on the mental health of those who received the training. In a feasibility study, 11 Somali female community health workers were trained to deliver an 8-session cognitive behavioral therapy intervention. Each of the trainers recruited 5 participants through community outreach, resulting in 55 participants in the intervention. Self-assessed measures of mood were collected from study participants throughout the intervention, and focus groups were conducted. The 55 Somali women who participated recorded significant improvements in mood, with self-reported decreases in anxiety and increases in happiness. Focus group data showed the intervention was well received, particularly because it was delivered by a fellow community member. Participants reported gaining skills in problem solving, stress reduction, and anger management. Participants also felt that the intervention helped to address some of the stigma around mental health in their community. Delivery of cognitive behavioral therapy by a community health workers offered an acceptable way to build positive mental health in the Somali community.


Immigrant Community based Mental health Community health worker Somali Disparities 



This work was made possible with funding from the UCare Research Foundation. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1TR000114. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Human Participants Protection

This study was reviewed and approved by the University of Minnesota Institutional Review Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Health Disparities, Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.People’s Centre Health ServiceMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Department of NursingUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  5. 5.Powell Center for Women’s HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  6. 6.Institute of Health and WellbeingUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland, UK

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