Traditionally, in our Latino culture, mental health problems are a stigma. Concepts like depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, etc. they are not very common. We don’t talk about that. On the contrary, we cover it up and we blame the person for any problem of this nature: Shake it off! See how you do it, get your act together…everything except acknowledging that there may be psychological problems in us or in our family.
Mental health is part of our overall health. We all experience health problems (eg high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, etc.) and we all have our emotional challenges as well. The important thing is to recognize the symptoms and educate ourselves on the possible negative effects that they can have on our lives. It is equally important to know that there are effective treatments that can help us live to the fullest, free of emotional burdens.
The mental health statistics among Latinos or Hispanics are sadly even more dramatic due to several factors. First, the Latino population is subject to a greater degree of discrimination in general. This contributes to creating challenges and obstacles that can cause manifestations of anxiety and depression.
The lack of access to professional care has become a major obstacle. We all live with financial pressures and the last thing we want is additional expenses. For those with health insurance, the good news is that the vast majority of these plans cover mental health services. There are also a large number of clinics that provide services at little or no cost. However, while there is a cost associated with mental health care, the benefits of taking care of it are innumerable. Our happiness, full functioning and ability to interact well with others is priceless.
Language becomes an additional barrier since of all the areas that can affect us, being able to express how we feel emotionally is extremely important. Describing how we feel in a language that is not our own makes it difficult and limiting, and often stops us from seeking professional help. Fortunately, there are more and more professionals who speak Spanish. So this should no longer be an excuse.
The important thing is to identify and act. With the help of a qualified and trained professional, who also understands your culture and language, you and your family members can solve any challenge and ensure that you enjoy mental and emotional health. Let’s live our life to the fullest!