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Mental health in the Latino community: 3 statistics that might surprise you

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  • 3 of the main challenges that Latinos in the United States are facing.

How can we take care of mental health in the Latino community? According to the CDC, in the United States it’s estimated that one in five adults is affected by some type of mental illness, while one in five children and adolescents have a mental illness that is debilitating.

For the Latino community, there are unique challenges and risks surrounding mental health and accessing care. For some, lack of access to services is an impediment to seeking help, while for others, the stigma associated with mental illness makes timely treatment difficult. Learn about three common challenges for Hispanics regarding mental health.

Mental health in the Latino community

Mental health in the Latino community
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By the year 2060, the Latino population in the United States is expected to reach 119 million people, according to the Census. This would represent approximately 28.9% of the total population. Currently, statistics indicate that 9% of immigrants of Latino or Hispanic descent live in poverty, which could represent an increased risk of suffering from some type of mental disorder.

Understanding some of the common challenges that this community goes through could help to understand the causes of some mental health issues, as well as the reasons why it is not always possible to obtain a timely diagnosis or treatment.

Is language a barrier to asking for help?

Medical consultation
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Mental Health America offers two alarming statistics: The first is that Latino adults or immigrants who do not have a command of the English language usually have problems communicating their symptoms to health professionals. This, coupled with the lack of personnel trained to interpret and translate from Spanish to English, makes the process more difficult.

Another common challenge has to do with the fact that a good part of the Latino community prefers to go to a doctor only when they have physical symptoms. Another serious issue is that patients who don’t speak English well are not taken seriously, which can discourage them from seeking help.

The importance of timely care

Mental health in the Latino community
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The data provided by Mental Health America is compelling: 18% of the Latino community in the United States does not have access to mental health services, either to receive a diagnosis or to pay for the psychological or psychiatric treatment that they require.

In 2018, it was found that 56.8% of the adult Hispanic community in the United States that was diagnosed with some type of mental disorder did not receive the necessary treatment. In the case of young people with issues such as substance abuse, statistics indicate that 90% of them did not receive timely medical attention.

Concerns of the Latino community regarding mental health

Mental Health Awareness
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Stigma is another common impediment for members of the Latino community when it comes to accessing the services they require to care for their mental health. In some cases, negative associations tend to create suspicion among the members of the community who, due to deep-rooted customs or beliefs, consider that conditions such as anxiety or depression are a sign of weakness.

The fear of not getting employment or being fired is also a factor when it comes to taking care of mental health. Substance use, depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal ideation are just some of the challenges that are on the rise among youth of Latino descent in the United States.

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