Mental Health Awareness Month: Breaking Paradigms in the Hispanic Community

For many Hispanics, cultural and social barriers have enveloped mental health in a cloak of taboo and stigma. For generations, we’ve been taught to brave challenges and avoid showing vulnerability.

For a long time, fear of community judgment and lack of access to culturally competent resources have made facing challenges such as immigration and language barriers common factors that increase the likelihood of struggling with anxiety, trauma, and silent illnesses such as stress.

For example, in 2020, 7.7 million Hispanics in the U.S. ages 12 and older experienced symptoms of mental illness. Of these 7.7 million, only 35.1% received any treatment.

How does mental health affect the Hispanic community?

It is crucial to comprehend the mental health challenges confronting the Hispanic community to eradicate the stigma that they have faced for many generations.  

  • More than 40% of Hispanic adults have reported symptoms of depression.
  • 1 in 3 Hispanic youth report that their mental health is often not good.
  • Hispanic elders and youth are vulnerable to psychological stress due to factors related to immigration, and 1 in 20 receive mental health care.
  • In 2021, about 14 million Hispanics reported suffering from some form of mental illness in a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

However, a paradigm shift is underway. A new generation of Hispanics is embracing mental health and wellness.

These younger generations, who emigrated or were born in countries different from their parents, are no longer ashamed to talk about mental health and are prioritizing their well-being above all else.

It’s time to break the paradigm and make mental health a priority

The journey toward prioritizing mental health is a fundamental one for Hispanics in the U.S. The need to openly discuss mental health and seek adequate resources and support is a critical step on the path to overall wellness.

However, it’s important to recognize that other barriers to accessing services, such as access to a Spanish-speaking specialist, cost of care, and lack of access to health insurance, continue to be discussion topics.

How can we help bridge the gap?

The comfort and confidence from communicating in their native language can make a big difference in people’s willingness to seek help and treatment.

Creating spaces and communities that provide access to information and resources in Spanish and addressing the cultural elements that promote greater awareness and acceptance of the importance of emotional well-being.

The journey toward prioritizing mental health in the Hispanic community in the U.S. is an evolving process. Increasingly, both older and newer generations are talking about mental health, accepting it, and seeking support to improve individual and collective well-being.

It’s time to educate, support, and advocate for policies that ensure access to mental health care. This month is about prioritizing emotional well-being and building a healthier, more compassionate future.

Learn how to connect with the Hispanic community and help close the gap!

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