Beliefs, Stigma, Lack of Culturally Appropriate Providers Prevent Many Hispanics From Seeking Mental Health Care
The Stockton Record on Thursday looked at mental health among Hispanics. According to a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, fewer than one in 11 Hispanic immigrants seek care from mental health specialists, and fewer than one in five use services from general health care providers.
Denial often prevents both Hispanics with mental health issues and their families from seeking treatment, Rosalva Garduno, a mental illness educator with the Family-to-Family program at NAMI's San Joaquin chapter, said. Families sometimes believe that symptoms of mental illness are actually related to witchcraft, demon possession, or alcohol or drug abuse. She added, "It's easier to believe these things than to believe that your loved one has a mental illness. They (would) rather believe it's something that can go away."
A lack of education and stigma surrounding mental illness also prevent many Hispanics from seeking care, Garduno said. In addition, there is a limited number of mental health providers who speak Spanish or are Hispanic. The Record reports that only 1% of a random sample of 596 licensed members of the American Psychological Association were Hispanic (Rodriguez, Stockton Record, 2/28).