Did you know that Hispanic Heritage Month — September 15th through October 15th — has been celebrated for the past 53 years? In those five decades, America’s Latino population has grown from 9 million to over 60 million people. Yet, in the area of behavioral health we are falling behind:
- Only 36% of Latinos with depression receive mental health care compared to 60% of non-Hispanic whites
- Latinos are less likely than non-Latino whites to take antidepressants
- Latina adolescents attempt suicide more often than any other group of female teenagers nationwide
- Latinos are three times more likely than whites to report alcohol dependence
- Latinos, especially those with higher levels of alcohol dependence, underutilized treatment services as compared to whites
- Lack of culturally-responsive staff is an important barrier to behavioral health treatment
An American Psychological Association survey reported that only 5.5% of U.S. psychologists are able to administer behavioral health services in Spanish, and only 45% of psychologists said they were “quite or extremely knowledgeable” about working with Latino patients. This is an important disparity because Latino Americans face unique behavioral health issues compared to the country’s population at large. Acculturation into the larger American culture has increased risk for substance use disorders among Latino youth. Cultural stigma prevents treatment utilization. And Latinos are at higher risk for severe mental health problems, in part because of the poor quality of treatment they tend to receive.
L.A. CADA is working to even the score with a comprehensive, culturally meaningful continuum of care. For Latinos, this means that treatment is nested in important cultural values: familismo (family); confianza (trust); personalismo (preference for personal relationships); respeto (respect for Latino values and roles) and; dignidad (personal dignity). We’re proud to employ a large proportion of bilingual staff that represent the cultures of our clients. Because equity in behavioral healthcare is a human right.
Check out the statistics: Latino Mental Health