Hispanics face obstacles when it comes to seeking mental help

Hispanics face hurdles when in finding mental health services

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As we start to make progress and put the pandemic behind us, a problem that may have been slightly overlooked is the impact that it’s had on our mental health, especially within our Hispanic communities.

Between being confined to our homes for long periods of time, parents becoming teachers, and many other uncertainties the pandemic has brought us, more people than perhaps ever before are struggling with their mental health.

“I think it has a little bit to do with the fact that it’s the pandemic but I think just, in general, it’s a big problem,” said Dr. Carlos Garcia, a mental health therapist.

But recent studies have shown that much of Louisiana’s Hispanic population hasn’t been getting the mental help it needs at a time when it’s most crucial. According to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, over 17% of Hispanics in Louisiana say they were unable to receive counseling or therapy for a mental health illness during the pandemic.

“Essentially looking at the Hispanic population in the state and the number of people who said they needed counseling but did not get it. Louisiana had the highest percentage at 17.4%,” said Anja Solumn, a data analyst with HelpAdvisor.com.

Bridge Center for Hope offers mental health resources

Garcia added one of the reasons for those numbers lies within the stigma around seeking help within the Hispanic community.

“When it comes to most Hispanic cultures, some Asian cultures, Caribbean cultures, really, it’s still this idea that, like, if you’re seeing a therapist or psychiatrist, you’re crazy,” he explained.

But another issue that might be contributing to the problem is the number of Hispanic psychologists there are in the US. According to the American Psychological Association, only 1% of America’s psychologists identify as Hispanic, while at the same time, Hispanics make up about 20% of the American population, causing potential language barriers and not being able to relate to certain aspects within the culture.

“If we have let’s say, Hispanic therapists, that stigma is going to be reduced a bit and clients and patients are going to be more likely to seek out that help,” Garcia pointed out.

Dr. Garcia said it’s important all of us recognize that our mental health and physical health are equally important and neglecting either one of them, no matter the reason, can hurt us in the long run.

For anybody seeking mental help, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.

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