Latinx Americans and Mental Health
LATINX MENTAL HEALTH
The Latinx community is known to be one of the most tight-knit communities, where collectivist cultural values place a grand emphasis on familial support. However, one sees this very familial support disintegrate in the face of one thing: mental health. It is noted that there is a stigma regarding mental health within the Latinx community; a stigma which inhibits the ability to comfortably and effectively talk about mental health issues, and actually give the necessary support to those suffering from them.
LATINX AMERICANS DILEMMAS
First and foremost within the discourse of the Latinx American experience is the idea of acculturation, and how it affects the psyche of those who experience. Although not all Latinx Americans are first or second generation Americans, one sees that 41.23 million people in the United States experience a household where Spanish is predominantly spoken. This is out of the 58.8 million people who identify as Hispanic/Latinx, meaning 70.12% of Latinx/Hispanic American individuals can be inferred to experience the process of acculturation, as they navigate the idiosyncrasies of their respective Latinx culture and American culture, whether that includes music, language, clothing, and bias towards what aspects of each culture they lean towards. And within this process of acculturation, many can feel like an imposter in both their culture of origin, and adopted culture. It is this limbo state which leads many to develop perceptions of themselves of being misunderstood and frankly, alone.
Much of the Latinx world is comprised of Catholics, which lends itself to create a phenomenon among the population known as “Catholic Guilt”. This can often lead the population to be adamant of accepting the idea that external forces are the cause of the problems within one’s life. It places a burden upon the individual, and therefore causes many to rarely seek help, for they often view the issue to be something only they could fix. Even if one is not religious, this aspect is ingrained within Latinx culture due to the prominence of Catholicism; hence, it affects many Latinx people in a profound way.
The cultural idea of machismo has varying effects upon men and women in Latinx societies.
For men, it causes many to develop schemas on what a man should be, and how masculinity should be cultivated. To cry and to ask for help is a sign of weakness, which discourages many men from both asking for help, and outwardly relieving themselves of dread.
For women, machismo can often lead to traumas that involve how relationship dynamics play out between their partner, family members, and parents. Women are seen as dainty, fragile, and incapable; to be constantly undermined by those around you may lead to many psychological issues that pertain to efficacy, esteem, and perception.
LATINX AMERICANS MENTAL HEALTH STATISTICS
15% of Latinx Americans had a diagnosable mental health issue
Many Latinx Americans don’t seek treatment due to structural barriers (unlike the aforementioned issues above) to actually receive treatment. These include high costs of healthcare and language.
Latino high school females are more likely to report suicidal thinking than non-Latino white females (20.2 percent to 16.1 percent), and more like to attempt suicide as well (13.5 percent to 7.9 percent).
AYANA AND LATINX AMERICANS: SYMBIOSIS
After reviewing the current state of affairs for mental health for Latinx Americans, many may ask how can we solve this. This is where Ayana steps in, where Ayana seeks to help Latinx Americans and other marginalized groups to gain access to therapists who have the competence to understand their plight. Having a therapist that eliminates the possible language barrier that entails when treating a Latinx American, and one who understands the cultural niches within Latinx society (by usually being Latinx themself) is heavily satisfying and needed when addressing the unique mental issues that Latinx Americans find themselves in. With Ayana, one can have that very scenario.