How to Support & Advocate for Latin Mental Health
It’s BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, so throughout the next few weeks, we’re going to shine a spotlight on how to advocate for healing and social justice for specific communities of color. Learn more about BIPOC mental health and view all of our BIPOC community guides here.
Here we have some tips for Latin folks to care for their mental health, and for non-Latin people to increase their awareness and learn how to be an effective ally.
*We’re using the term “Latin” here rather than “Latinx” because “Latinx” originates in the ivory tower — only 4% of Latin/Hispanic folks prefer this term. It also doesn’t align with the declension Latin languages.
Learn About… Systemic Racism
Individuals in the Latin community experience racism and discrimination at both individual and societal levels (i.e. classism, anti-immigrant sentiments, discrimination based on language). Racism directly impacts mental health and without support can lead to poor mental health outcomes (i.e. depression, suicide). (On Our Sleeves)
Those from the Latin community are less likely to receive mental health services even though they report symptoms of depression and anxiety more frequently than their White peers. This is often due to stigma around receiving mental health care within the Latin community and lack of resources that specialize in Latin mental health (i.e. cultural differences, language barriers). (UCLA Depression Grand Challenge)
For Latin people… think about ways that you have experienced bias against your community in the past and whether you internalized any of these messages. Having conversations about this with others from your community can help the healing process while fostering connection.
For non-Latin people… actively work to question the biases and stereotypes you may hold about the Latin community. Encourage others to question the assumptions that they have about this community and educate others when they demonstrate a biased way of thinking.
Celebrate… Community and Pride
Community provides a sense of strength and pride within many Latin cultures. If you are Latin, think about what it means for you to be a part of your community. Food, religion, holidays, and traditions may all come to mind. Thinking about community may bring up different emotions for different people, which is normal — give yourself time to explore what community means and looks like to you. (On Our Sleeves)
If you are not a member of the Latin community, take some time to broaden your scope about what it means to be Latin. A good way to start learning about a different culture is to first recognize that most stereotypes are broad over-generalizations of entire groups of people who live complicated lives, have complex values, and elaborate traditions.
Embrace… Heritage and Culture
Experiences of discrimination and racism can create barriers to celebrating and fully embracing culture. If you are Latin, talking to members of your community about shared experiences, cultural differences, and traditions can help break down some of those barriers by fostering a social connection with people who may have similar experiences.
For non-Latin people, uplift voices that are speaking on issues that are impacting the Latin community. Consider ways that you can make space for or highlight Latin voices in your community.
Share Resources & Take Action
- Latinx Therapy
- NAMI: Why it’s so important to break the stigma around mental health within the Latinx community
- NLBHA – Become a Juntos Partner and get the latest news on behavioral health developments affecting Latinos
- One Mind: Mental Health Apps for the Latinx Community
- On Our Sleeves: Obstacles Latinx Children Face and How to Help
- Therapy for Latinx
- Trans Lifeline: Issues
- UCLA Depression Grand Challenge: Digital storytelling helps encourage Latinas to pursue treatment for depression & anxiety
Guide created by MHC’s Research Team: Khyia Ward, Anna-Marie Fennell, Dr. Naomi Torres-Mackie
Guide reviewed by Eduardo Morales, National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA)