Lack of Access
Lack of access to mental health services continues to be one of the most serious problem in the Hispanic/ Latino community. Hispanic Americans use mental-health services far less than other ethnic and racial groups. They also constitute the largest group of uninsured in the U.S.—further limiting access to care. While insurance plays a large role in accessing healthcare, culture and language are also significant barriers. The lack of interpreters and bilingual professionals can interfere with appropriate evaluation, treatment, and emergency response.
Hispanics/ Latinos often have different attitudes about accessing mental health services, and may feel highly stigmatized for doing so. For example, Hispanics/ Latinos often mistake depression for nervousness, tiredness, or even a physical ailment, and may see it as something that is temporary. Affected individuals may not recognize their symptoms as those that require the attention of mental health specialists.
Studies have shown that older Hispanic adults and youth are especially vulnerable to the stresses of immigration and acculturation. Many older Hispanic Americans find the strain of acculturation overwhelming. Their traditional values and beliefs are often at odds with the new culture, they may lack family support and may face language barriers.
Hispanic/ Latino youth also have been found to be at risk for higher levels of emotional distress because of the pressures to rapidly adopt the values of their new culture as well as inequality, poverty, and discrimination.
Studies have found that Hispanic/ Latino youth suffer from many of the same emotional problems created by marginalization and discrimination, but without the secure identity and traditional values held by their parents.