Latinos face language barrier and cultural stigmas when seeking mental health treatment
Growing up in a Cuban family and dealing with depression at a young age made me understand a hard truth: our culture is not well suited to deal with mental health problems at all. Many kids grow up with serious issues because their parents are afraid to seek help, knowing they will get judged and stigmatized if the community finds out that they have a “crazy” child. That’s right, there is no label for mental illness in the Cuban culture other than crazy. And when you are crazy, you don’t tell anyone.
According to a new article by The Standard, latinos face a unique set of stresses and barriers to obtaining mental health treatment, along with a set of cultural stigmas that surround seeking help. About 17% of Hispanics have a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, and 3.6% had serious thoughts about, made plans or attempted suicide, according to data from Mental Health America.
About one-third of Latino adults with a mental illness received treatment each year, compare to the national average of 43%.
It is really concerning to see stats like this. But having been inside the communities, it breaks my heart to know that so many Hispanic men, women and children are quietly struggling, afraid to talk or seek help. For this reason I made a special cast of the Wise Distortion Podcast, where we are going to be discussing the issue of mental health in the Latin community, and we are going to be doing it in Spanish. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish, I will have the episode translated as well.