The Depression Fotonovela Project

About the Depression Fotonovela Project

Project Objective

Our group has developed and tested a theoretically-informed, culturally-grounded depression fotonovela written in English and Spanish entitled “Secret Feelings” Fotonovelas are popular health education tools that use posed photographs, captions, and soap opera narratives to engage audiences and raise awareness about health or social issues.

“Secret Feelings” aims to counteract misconceptions and stigmatizing attitudes about depression and its treatments common in the Latino community including the beliefs that depression is caused by personal weakness, that people receiving mental health care are locos (crazy), and that antidepressant medications are harmful and addictive. This project is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Southern California.

Project Status



Cabassa, L. J., Contreras, S., Aragón, R., Molina, G. B., & Baron, M. (2011). Focus group
evaluation of “Secret Feelings”: A depression fotonovela for Latinos with limited English proficiency.
Health Promotion Practice, 12 (6), 840-847. PMCID: PMC3632397

Cabassa, L. J., Molina, G., & Baron, M. (2012). Depression Fotonovela: Development of a
depression literacy tool for Latinos with limited English proficiency
. Health Promotion Practice, 13 (6), 747-754. PMCID: PMC3071859

Hansen, M. & Cabassa, L. J. (2012). Pathways to depression care: Help-seeking experiences of low-income Latinos with diabetes and depression. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 14 (6), 1097-1106. PMCID: PMC3885867

Parcesepe, A. & Cabassa, L. J. (2013) Public stigma of mental illness in the United
States: A Systematic literature review
. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 40 (5), 384-399. PMID: 22833051 NIHMSID: 524527

Unger, J. B., Cabassa, L. J., Molina, G. B., Contreras, S., & Baron, M. (2013). Evaluation of a fotonovela to increase depression knowledge and reduce stigma among Hispanic adults. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 15 (2), 398-406. PMCID: PMC3602405

Other Project Materials

inSocialWork Podcast Series: Episode 46 – Dr. Leopoldo Cabassa: Developing Mental Health Literacy Tools for the Latino Community

To see an alphabetical list of all the projects being conducted at our Center, please click here:  Research projects at the CECC.