Hope and Help for Mental Health Issues in Latinx/Hispanic Communities

Latinx Mental Health

Mental health issues can affect anyone, and the Latinx/Hispanic communities are no different. In the United States (including Puerto Rico), where over 65 million Latinos live, millions of them experience anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and other psychiatric issues. Yet, the stigma surrounding mental illness is so strong in this community that many choose not to seek professional help. Statistics show that only 1 in 5 Latinos with psychological issues talk to a doctor and only 1 in 10 seek treatment from a mental health professional. This means that people in the Latinx community often suffer in silence, which can exacerbate their mental health conditions.

People in the Latinx/Hispanic community often suffer in silence, which can exacerbate their mental health conditions. Click To Tweet

DIVERSITY AMONG LATINX/HISPANIC COMMUNITIES

The Latinx and Hispanic communities are culturally and racially diverse. It’s important to note that some individuals identify as Hispanic, Latinx, or both. Hispanic refers to people from Spanish-speaking nations. Latinx is a gender-neutral term used in place of Latino or Latina that typically refers to people of Latin American heritage. Latin America includes South America, Central America, and some countries in the Caribbean.

HOW COMMON ARE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN THE LATINX/HISPANIC COMMUNITY?

Mental health problems in the Latinx/Hispanic community are common. In 2019, over 18% of Latinx/Hispanic adults in the US reported having a mental illness and 7% had a substance use disorder, according to statistics from SAMHSA. Research suggests that serious psychiatric conditions are rising within this community.

Especially concerning is the fact that the prevalence of serious mental illness among Latinx/Hispanic people is on the rise. From 2008 to 2018, serious mental illness increased from 4% to 6.4% among those aged 18-25 and from 2.2% to 3.9% in the 26-49 age range, according to Mental Health America.

Increasing rates of mental health problems among Latinx/Hispanic youth are alarming. Research from 2017 found that approximately 22% of Latino youth experience depressive symptoms. In fact, they have the highest rates of depression among all minority groups except for Native American youth. They also have the highest rates of suicidal behavior and suicide attempts.

This study shows that among Latino children, the migration experience leads to heightened anxiety, stress, and depression. Other stressors, such as discrimination, bullying, poverty, and violence contribute to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD among young people in this community. Sadly, compared to their white peers, they are less likely to receive mental health treatment.

THE PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON MENTAL HEALTH IN THE LATINX/HISPANIC POPULATION

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on our society’s mental health. Rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse have risen among the entire population. According to a 2021 report from the CDC, however, all of these issues have increased more dramatically in the Latinx/Hispanic community.

In this survey, over 40% of Latinx/Hispanic adults reported experiencing depressive symptoms during the pandemic. That’s 59% higher compared with non-Hispanic whites. Compared with other demographic groups, Latinx/Hispanic individuals experienced suicidal thoughts 2-4 times more frequently. In terms of substance abuse, this community either started or increased its use at twice the rate of other demographic groups.

A 2021 study found that those in the Latinx/Hispanic community reported more anxiety and stress in addition to depression as a result of the pandemic. The need for mental health help cannot be overstated.

LACK OF MENTAL HEALTH CARE AMONG LATINX/HISPANIC PEOPLE

Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, Latinx/Hispanic individuals are less likely to seek or receive treatment. A 2019 study indicates that Hispanic people access mental health services at about half the rate as non-Hispanic whites. This study suggests that religious beliefs may contribute to this. For example, in terms of depression, participants in the study pointed to both biomedical and religious factors as potential causes. Failing to pray, sinful behavior, demons, and insufficient faith were noted as having a causal relationship with depression.

Stigma, which research shows is high in Latin American communities, is also part of the problem. In addition, this community faces some unique challenges that can make it even more difficult to get the mental health help they need. Such factors may include:

  • Institutional obstacles
  • Lack of access to care
  • Lack of health insurance
  • Acculturation
  • Immigration problems
  • Legal status
  • Language barriers
  • Poverty
  • Generational conflicts
  • Cultural and religious beliefs

HOPE FOR BETTER MENTAL HEALTH CARE FOR LATINX/HISPANICS

If you’re experiencing issues such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Mental health care is available for the Latinx/Hispanic community. Taking the first step by seeking professional help can be an important part of your journey to better emotional well-being and psychological health.

Anxiety, depression, addictions, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

5 Comments »

  1. I’m so glad that you brought this up. It’s hard for Americans to understand the trauma that many immigrants go through. They come to this country with empty pockets, don’t speak the language, or have access to systems that could help. Undocumented immigrants live in the shadows, and mental health is stigmatized. Often the family has children years apart so the daughters drop out of school to take care of the baby while mom is working. Survival is a higher priority than education. The 2nd generation is faced with social media to pretend everyone lives perfect lives, and they fall into depression because their lives and families are far from perfect.

    Comment by Mary Jo Quay — March 25, 2022 @ 6:44 AM

  2. We face similar issues here in Mexico. Fortunately, more and more people are overcoming the above mentioned stigma and seeking help. Thanks for all of your efforts.

    Comment by Joseph Michael — March 25, 2022 @ 7:00 AM

  3. This is an important article and I think it is something that should be discussed in the Latin/Hispanic community. My only criticism with this article is the use of Latinx. As a Hispanic woman I can tell you that the Latin community has not embraced this term because we are either Latino or Latina. The American English language is trying to remove a component of the Spanish language that cannot be ignored… there are masculine words and there are feminine words. There are no “x” words.

    Comment by L Basurto — March 26, 2022 @ 7:36 AM

  4. As a latinamerican woman, I aprecciate this article so much. I hope more people can afford this kind of medical tests and are more people become more interested in this topic.

    Comment by Rina — March 28, 2022 @ 12:54 AM

  5. Very good article. As a professional counselor associate in Texas and just beginning my career, I am working with the majority of Hispanic clients from different countries and the need for attention to this population is great in the area of ​​mental health, both for parents and children, in the areas of domestic violence, abuse, addictions, and parenting.

    Comment by Alexandra Rivera — April 7, 2022 @ 5:45 PM

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