Living your best life means not only being healthy physically but also emotionally and mentally as well. For many, seeking the guidance of a mental health professional is a way of ensuring their overall well-being.
But for some communities, there is a stigma associated with getting help for depression and other mental health issues. One such community that holds conflicting beliefs about mental health is the LatinX community.
The Stigma of Mental Health
Like other communities, the LatinX community faces some common mental health conditions, primarily anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, and drug and alcohol addiction. The burden of these conditions can even lead some to commit suicide.
Sadly, many in the community, though struggling, refuse to seek help because of cultural stigma. There is a saying in the LatinX community, and that is: “la ropa sucia se lava en casa.” This translates to “don’t air your dirty clothes in public.” Mental health is often not seen as a “real thing” and it is certainly not discussed by many in the community, especially among older individuals.
There are other reasons why some individuals in the LatinX community do not seek mental health treatment. Privacy concerns, shame, language barriers, legal status, and a lack of health insurance are some of the main ones.
What Can Be Done?
Some of the work to bring about a change of perception will have to be done within the community itself. LatinX community members, especially younger individuals, can start conversations about mental health. The more the topic is discussed openly, the more the overall culture can shift and begin to embrace therapy as a viable health practice.
Secondly, more healthcare organizations can and should conduct public screenings for depression and other mental health issues. This will help people in the community learn more about mental health issues and trust those in their community who are there to help.
No one should have to suffer from depression, anxiety, or addiction. If you are a member of the LatinX community, understand there is no shame in getting help. Self-love and self-care is something to be valued.
If you would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW