Mental Health In The Hispanic Community


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Prevalence Of Any Mental Health Disorder By Place Of Birth And Heritage

Addressing mental health in the Hispanic community

Prevalence by place of birth. When comparing the prevalence of any mental health disorder by place of birth, we find that the prevalence of mental health disorders was significantly greater among U.S. state-born Hispanic parents than among non-U.S. state-born Hispanic parents .e

Prevalence by heritage. Figure 3 shows the prevalence of ever experiencing any mental health disorder by heritage . Because the groups differed in the proportion of parents who were U.S. state-born versus non-U.S. state-born , and the prevalence of mental health disorders varies by place of birth, we examined differences by heritage before and after considering differences by place of birth between the groups.

We found that, prior to considering differences by place of birth, the prevalence of mental health disorders varies by heritage: Puerto Rican parents were more likely to meet criteria for a mental health disorder than parents with Mexican , Salvadoran , or other Central American ancestry .

However, adjusting for differences in rates of U.S. state-born and non-U.S. state-born parents across the four heritage groups resulted in reduced differences in the prevalence of mental health disorders, and a loss of statistical significance . In other words, the prevalence of any mental health disorder did not vary by heritage after factoring for place of birth.

Talking About Mental Health In The Latino Community

Estela Chamus depression began when she left her hometown in Mexico at the age of seventeen.

A family friend told her parents he had a job for Chamu in California, babysitting two American children. But there was no job, and the man who took her from her family wanted her as his woman instead.

For fifteen years, Chamu tolerated a forced and abusive relationship.

In that ranch I endured domestic violence. He would chase me with a rifle and slap me. My life has been really sad. I would cry, I couldnt go anywhere, I had no activities. I was barred to the ranch, Chamu said.

Until one day she had enough and left. Alone with her kids, Chamu knew she wasnt ok and sought out help.

I needed help with my mental health. The mentality we have as Latinos is ‘Im not crazy.’ And it’s not that were crazy. It’s that we need the support of a doctor, a specialist, Chamu said.

But the Latino community faces language barriers, less access to health care, and cultural influences that keep them from getting help with mental health. One of the biggest barriers is the stigma of being seen as being crazy.

Andrea Vasquez was diagnosed with major depressive disorder when she was sixteen.

You have these people looking at you in the face and telling you, You can just pray this demon away,’ said Vasquez.

Vasquez’s depression got so bad she began self harming and checked into a behavioral health center.

Then there are therapists like Lizeth Ma.

Resources And Help For Latino Communities

Our most recent NAMI CA State of the Community report on diverse communities.

NAMIs Compartiendo Esperanza Program. This 90-minute program aims to increase mental health awareness in Latino communities by sharing the presenters journeys to recovery and exploring signs and symptoms of mental health conditions. The program also highlights how and where to find help.

Compartiendo Esperanza: No Hay Salud Sin Salud Mental Booklet. Through stories and quotes, this booklet provides mental health information in a sensitive manner. Recovery is possible, and this booklet tells you where to find more information, seek help and be supportive. You can preview the booklet for free.

Support Groups and Classes. NAMI California offers free resources for those impacted by mental health conditions, including support groups and classes in Spanish. Find your local NAMI affiliate to find out more.

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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
  • Cultural and religious beliefs

Immigration And Mental Health

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While Latinos have shown perseverance in the face of adversity, moving to the United States can trigger high levels of pressure.

Latinos and other communities who face challenges from the immigration experience and integration process are often at greater risk for PTSD, depression, suicide, and stress associated with fitting in. Both documented and undocumented immigrants may also deal with the intense fear of deportation.

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Mental Health Statistics In The Latino Community

Mental illness rates in the Latino community are similar to the rest of the population. However, among Latinos who experience symptoms of a mental health disorder:

Only 20% talk to a doctor about their symptoms

Only 10% contact a mental health professional

20% had no form of health insurance, according to a 2019 report

Utilization Of Mental Health Services

Community Studies

The available studies consistently indicate that Hispanic community residentswith diagnosable mental disorders are receiving insufficient mental healthcare. In the Los Angeles Epidemiologic Catchment Area study, forexample, Mexican Americans who had experienced mental disorders within thepast six months were less likely to use health or mental health servicesthan whites . The study of Mexican Americans residing in FresnoCounty revealed similar results. Only 9 percent of those with mentaldisorders during the 12 months prior to the interview sought services from amental health specialist. This rate was even lower for those born in Mexico compared to those born in the United States . Furthermore,Latinos are twice as likely to seek treatment for mental disorders ingeneral health care settings as opposed to mental health specialty settings.

These studies suggest that among Hispanic Americans with mental disorders,fewer than 1 in 11 contact mental health care specialists, while fewer than1 in 5 contact general health care providers. Among Hispanic Americanimmigrants with mental disorders, fewer than 1 in 20 use services frommental health specialists, while fewer than 1 in 10 use services fromgeneral health care providers.

Mental Health Systems Studies

Complementary Therapies

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Facts About Mental Health And Latino Communities

Common mental health conditions among Latinox are generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and excessive use of alcohol and drugs. Additionally, suicide is a concern for Latinx youth.

An estimated 33% of Latinx adults with mental illness receive treatment each year compared to the U.S. average of 43%. Without treatment, certain mental health conditions can worsen and become disabling.

How To Change Narrative About Latino/a Mental Health

Mental Health In The Hispanic Community

Those managing their mental health need to know that they are not alone. Transitioning to college can be hard for Latino/a students, just as it is for students of all races and ethnicities. A strong support system would allow them to navigate any challenge that arises, including mental health struggles.

Advocates for Latino/a mental health also need support from their communities in order to share their stories and resources with as many people as possible.

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Mental Health Crisis Among Latinos Prompts Push For Accessible Treatment Candid Conversations

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Amid growing concerns over mental health among Latinos is a new push by counselors, celebrities, and influencers to provide access to treatment and create safe conversations within communities.

According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2020, more than 18% of the Latinx community reported having a mental health condition. Among those, 1 in 4, or more than 24%, were categorized as having a serious mental illness.

Research available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website also showed that 40.3% of Hispanic people experienced symptoms of depression, compared to 25.3% of white people. Latinos also face disparities in access and quality of mental health treatment, according to the American Psychiatric Association, which cites language barriers, lack of insurance and “lack of culturally tailored services and culturally competent mental health professionals” among the many contributing factors.

Stars like Selena Gomez and J Balvin, who have spoken publicly about their struggles with depression and anxiety, have launched their own platforms in hopes of combating the mental health crisis in their communities.

“In my house we don’t talk about it like at all,” said Suarez, a teenager herself.

What Cultures Are Included In Latin American

Latin American cultures are a blend of several cultures. Indigenous, Asian, European, and African languages and cultures are all included in Latin American cultures.

While the predominant language is Spanish, there are over 900 languages spoken in Latin and South America. There are also just as many traditions and cultural practices, and Latin Americans are of all races and ethnicities. There is no one way to be Hispanic or Latino/a.

While Latin American culture is a diverse blend of cultures from around the world, there are similarities that tie the community together. Many Latinos/as face similar barriers to mental health treatment, such as citizenship status, income, and language.

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Prevalence Of Mental Health Disorders And Suicidality

In this section, we describe the prevalence among Hispanic parents of children under age 18 of ever experiencing major depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, PTSD, and any of these disorders, as well as the prevalence of ever attempting suicide. While we first report prevalence rates for all Hispanic parents with children under age 18 in the household, we also present prevalence rates for non-Hispanic parents for context and comparison.

What Influences Mental Health Stigmas In The Latino/a Community

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While the Latino/a community is incredibly diverse, many Latinos/as report struggling to acknowledge mental health issues and find adequate care. Mental health and illness are frequently stigmatized in this community. Even Latino/a college students who eventually seek treatment often face institutional barriers and discrimination.

In the U.S. Surgeon General’s report “Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity,” only 20% of Latinos/as with mental health conditions discuss them with their doctors, and just 10% seek treatment. This report also states that racism, immigration status, and poverty can directly affect mental health within the Latino/a community.

Historically, the Latino/a community has tended to view mental health as something that should be dealt with privately. Mental health may not be something Latino/a families and communities talk about openly because it is seen as a taboo subject.

Some Latinos/as may not ask for help or treatment because they believe they may be labeled as “crazy” and embarrass their family. Family members may also not know where to seek help for loved ones managing their mental health because it is so stigmatized.

Latino/a students may also find it challenging to find treatment because of discrimination, bias, or other barriers. Students could have limited access to care because of poverty, immigration status, or language barriers.

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Historical And Sociocultural Factors That Relate To Mental Health

Historical and sociocultural factors suggest that, as a group, Latinos are ingreat need of mental health services. Latinos, on average, have relatively loweducational and economic status. In addition, historical and social subgroupdifferences create differential needs within Latino groups. Central Americansmay be in particular need of mental health services given the trauma experiencedin their home countries. Puerto Rican and Mexican American children and adultsmay be at a higher risk than Cuban Americans for mental health problems, giventheir lower educational and economic resources. Recent immigrants of allbackgrounds, who are adapting to the United States, are likely to experience adifferent set of stressors than long-term Hispanic residents.

Challenging Mental Health Stigma In The Hispanic Community

| October 6, 2022 | Healthy Lifestyle, Mental Health

From an early age, I was conditioned to believe that mental illnesses are embarrassing and shameful. I was taught to build walls around my feelings, and in doing so I have condemned myself to fighting them alone.

Being part of the Hispanic community has proven to be a challenging experience when it comes to mental health. Mental health disorders are one of many battles negatively affecting our community due to the stigma and misconceptions surrounding them. Sometimes those who have the courage to ask for help wind up feeling unsupported or belittled by their own family and cultural misconceptions.

A year ago, I witnessed my family drown in guilt for not taking the signs more seriously. The night my 16-year-old cousin lost his battle with depression, around 80 members of the Hispanic community who previously did not believe in mental health disorders became advocates. Although I was not close to him, a small part of me still feels guilty for not checking up on him or advocating for his struggles sooner, after he expressed clear signs on social media. We were so conditioned to dismiss his cries for help as attention-seeking that we ended up missing vital signs of someone gasping for air.

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How Do Mental Health Conditions Affect The Latino Community

Common mental health disorders among Latinos are generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. Additionally, Latina high school girls have high rates of suicide attempts.

While Latino communities show similar susceptibility to mental illness as the general population, unfortunately, we experience disparities in access to treatment and in the quality of treatment we receive. This inequality puts us at a higher risk for more severe and persistent forms of mental health conditions.

As a community, Latinos are less likely to seek mental health treatment. A 2001 Surgeon Generals report found that only 20% of Latinos with symptoms of a psychological disorder talk to a doctor about their concerns. Only 10% contact a mental health specialist. Yet, without treatment, certain mental health conditions can worsen and become disabling.

Analyses Of Past Year Prevalence Show Similar Patterns By Heritage And Place And Birth

Discussing mental health in Utah’s Latino community

One limitation of lifetime prevalence rates of mental disorders based on retrospective reports is that they rely on recall and likely underestimate the actual prevalence of disorders.38 We conducted ancillary analyses examining past year prevalence of disorders and found the same pattern of results as those reported with lifetime prevalence . Briefly, the past year prevalence of any mental health disorder among Hispanic parents was 25 percent the prevalence of past year mental health disorders was higher among those born in the 50 states and those from Puerto Rican ancestry, but differences by heritage disappeared after considering place of birth.

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Offering Sensitive Culturally Competent Treatment

Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and similar severe mental illnesses are especially stigmatizing labeled locura by many Latinos. More common disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are regarded as merely nervios and perceived as short-term, easier to treat and not requiring medication. As such, Dr. Lorenzo is cautious about recommending pharmacotherapy to her patients.4 Latinos tend to view psychotherapy as more acceptable, she says. If appropriate, I often recommend that first, then add medication later if needed.

Barriers To Mental Health Care In The Latino/hispanic Community

When it comes to treatment for mental health problems, roughly one-third or 33 percent of adults in the Latino/Hispanic community undergo this type of care. This is lower than the average of 43 percent for adults in the U.S. overall. For Latino/Hispanic adults suffering from any type of mental health disorder, roughly 67 percent did not receive treatment. For those who have a serious mental health disorder, around 44 percent did not receive treatment. Several problems and barriers can make it more difficult for this population to seek and receive quality treatment for mental health disorders, including:

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How Do The Rates Of Mental Health Disorders Found In Our Study Compare To Rates From Other Studies

The prevalence of any lifetime mental health disorder among Hispanic parents in our sample is similar to that of Hispanic adults in studies with nationally representative samples using structured interviews to derive clinical diagnoses . The lifetime prevalence of any mental health disorder among Hispanic adults across four major national studiesthe National Comorbidity Survey-Replication ,74 the National Latino and Asian American Study ,75 the National Survey of American Life ,76 and the National Comorbidity Survey Re-Interview )77was 39 percent.78 When considering specific mental health disorders, our findings for Hispanic parents are aligned with what others have found among Hispanic adults in the NESARC-III: 16 percent had suffered from major depressive disorder,79 23 percent had ever had an alcohol use disorder,80 7 percent had ever had a drug use disorder,81 and 6 percent had experienced PTSD.82 However, these prevalence rates are somewhat discrepant from those reported in the pooled sample referenced above, which found anxiety disorders to be the most prevalent mental health disorder , followed by mood disorders , and lastly, substance use disorder .

Educating About The Physiologic Roots Of Mental Illness

FB Live Event: Mental Health &  The Latino Community 5.12.20  YES, Inc.

Lack of information and misunderstanding fuel the stigma. Providing details about diagnoses, discussing treatment options and answering questions may be the best way to eradicate stigma. Explaining the biological underpinnings of mental health disorders is enlightening to many Latinos, says Dr. Lorenzo. When they understand that chemicals in the brain play a primary role, they view the diseases differently.

Helping Latinos overcome their communitys stigma about mental illness is difficult. But the more that physicians understand Latino culture and work to raise awareness of mental health disorders and symptoms, the better.

When a Latino patient does disclose information indicating possible depression, anxiety or another mental health concern, we need to address it immediately, says Dr. Lorenzo. For them to open up, they must really be struggling.

Providers in Northeast Ohio can refer Latino patients for mental health appointments or triage at Cleveland Clinics Hispanic Clinic by calling 216.444.5812.

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