Talking About Mental Health In The Latino Community
Speaker 1: 00:00 Mental health can be a hard topic to talk about. And for some cultures, it can go ignored KPBS reporter, Tonya thorn looks into some of the barriers preventing the Latin X community from seeking mental health, help a warning. This report includes a graphic description of domestic violence and talk about self harm that some listeners may find disturbing Speaker 2: 00:23 Is Stella chemo's. Depression began when she left her hometown in Mexico. At the age of 17, a family friend told her parents, he had a job for chemo's in California, babysitting two American children, but there was no job. And the man who took her from her family wanted her as his woman. Instead for 15 years, tremolo endured a forced, an abusive relationship. Maybe that's my life has been really sad. I would cry. I couldn't go anywhere. I had not activities. I was Bart to the rent until one day she had enough and left once on her own Chamoun knew she wasn't okay and sought out help. But the Latin X community faces language barriers, less access to healthcare and cultural influences that keep them from getting help with mental health [inaudible] mentality. We have as Latinos is I'm not crazy. And it's not the weird, crazy it's that we need support of a doctor, a specialist. Speaker 2: 01:23 One of the biggest barriers is the stigma of being labeled crazy. You have these people telling you, looking you in the face and telling you, you can just pray this demon. Okay. Andrea Vasquez was diagnosed with major depressive disorder when she was 16. Anger was the bigger part of it. The depression, the panic attacks that I'd been having. And at that moment, I told him, you know, there's a crisis because I don't want to live. Vasquez has depression got so bad. She began self-harming and checked into a behavioral health center, something her Latin X parents had a hard time accepting. That's a big thing in Latin community that it's to believe that if there's something wrong with your child, it was your fault. The discomfort over mental health within the Latin X community also has to do with the lack of therapists that can understand the culture and the problems they face hard to find a therapist that connects with those issues. Hey, I think I have problems with my family because of my culture. And you're talking to a white male therapist that has no idea what you're talking about. Then there are therapists like was that ma who was Latina. And so she can relate to the cultural influences Latinos face when it comes to mental health help. Grandma believes that if we pray to God and we do [inaudible] and every go pair Speaker 1: 02:48 Prayers to the church, it's, God's going to grant us America. And the symptoms are going that way. Speaker 2: 02:53 Masa. She has to be culturally sensitive to the points of views of her patients, and also incorporates them in her practice for successful treatment. Okay. Yes, we can pray, but this need something more. We have to respect their belief system, but also work with them. Um, so what I tried to do is incorporate those buildings. Monae says there is still progress to be made in mental health services and things. The Penn Nemec meet the need more urgent. Um, you know, there's all these things that we haven't even thought about, or actually even seen because we're, I still in the midst of the pent-up as people rebuild their lives from the aftermath of the pandemic Masa, just not sleeping on mental health. And I think that we need to educate people that it doesn't simply go away. We need to learn and teach people the way to navigate and the way to seek out resources for their specific needs and how do they do it, and how can they find someone that they connect with Shama was building that bridge to resources for her community. As part of [inaudible] a North County advocacy group. For me, it's a new life. Since I left my life with domestic violence and guiding bolt with the groups, it's the most marvelous thing I have found in my life. Chimo says these activities have been the best medicine for her to get out of depression and help her community along the way. Tanya, thorn KPBS news. Speaker 1: 04:22 We just heard about the many barriers that stand in the way of seeking and receiving mental health care in the Latin X community. And that story Lizeth ma who is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Chula Vista spoke about how she incorporates cultural sensitivity when working with patients. She is joining us now to talk more about that and how to overcome barriers to receiving mental health care Lizeth. Speaker 2: 04:48 Welcome. Thank you. So, Speaker 1: 04:50 You know, critics say mental health care providers just aren't keeping up with the nation's growing Latin X population and that there aren't enough providers who are Spanish speaking and who understand the various cultures. Can you talk to me about that? Speaker 2: 05:03 Yeah, absolutely. I will have to agree with that to a certain extent. I believe, especially just in California, I can speak about the rest of the country, but especially government agencies, um, and County and city. I think they do a really good job at ensuring that we have providers that speak the language, not only Spanish, but tagalo and Japanese and all those other languages that are prevalent here in California. But one thing is speaking the language and the other is knowing the culture. Um, we have, uh, you know, other, uh, racists Anglo-Americans, African-Americans Asian that speak Spanish and understand Spanish. And some of those providers are treating some of our Latin X communities. And just because they're able to understand a language, not necessarily means that they understand the culture. Speaker 1: 05:53 And can you give me some examples of how culture a barrier to receiving mental health care? Speaker 2: 06:00 Well, there's a lot of components to that. I think it becomes a huge barrier within the culture. There's a belief system that if one of the young ladies also mentioned this, that if there's some sort of mental health within your family, culturally, it's very taboo. We don't speak about it. We don't tell anyone about it. Sometimes they'll tell, you know, the maternal mom or grandma that there's something going on. And typically they'll say, you know, it's going to go away. It'll pass. It's nothing. We'll pray well that it kind of, um, we'll get, go UV a Limpia, but it's, it's a barrier in itself because if they're not accepting or even listening or hearing them that there's actually something happening, how could they even get to a provider and start getting some help? And there's also that, that resistance of, you know, what is the provider again to say, what are they gonna think? Are they gonna think I'm crazy? Are they going to label me crazy? Are they going to give me a diagnosis? So it's not only the stigma, the resistance within the family culture. It's also sometimes that individual that's resistant to going into treatment because of the unknown. And maybe that belief that the provider is not going to understand. Speaker 1: 07:10 What about access to mental health care while it's a basic need? Insurance status often prevents people from getting the care they need, right? Speaker 2: 07:18 Absolutely accessibility to insurance. You have to think about with the Lennox community. We still have some, you know, undocumented immigrants that don't have insurance. All you'll have, um, some individuals that have private insurance or they have Medi-Cal or they have, uh, limited medical insurance. And those typically the government wants are very limited 13 sessions. You can exceed them. They have to ask for extensions, it's the whole process and private insurance. You have to go to a private provider and they get a referral as that sentence could be tough to navigate, even for someone who is educated and understands the system. And you have to think about what about those individuals that don't have insurance or that don't know the process of getting a referral. Some insurances require for you to get a referral from a medical provider, some insurance you just have to call the provider. And how do you start if you don't know, think about if you're having some mental health issues, do you have the capacity to even start that search? If there's no guide, no assistance? I think it's just definitely some barriers to that, um, that we definitely need to work on my personal opinion. Speaker 1: 08:31 What are some of the common mental health issues you're seeing in your patients? Speaker 2: 08:35 I think the pandemic, um, changed things quite a bit. I'm seeing a lot of relationship issues. Um, a lot of couples issues, especially at the, you know, four or five months in, um, and through the pandemic, there was a high increase of, you know, couples calling individuals calling. There's also a lot of uncertainty and uncertainty. Um, depression is definitely lot of depression, a lot of paranoia and some people that are kind of holding it together for a period of time, I believe that the isolation and the lockdown definitely triggered some people and, uh, exacerbated some of those symptoms. Also individuals who aren't coping just with the change of what the newer norm is and people who were affected directly by the pandemic, they lost someone Speaker 1: 09:26 Where can people look to find a Spanish speaking therapist, for example, and therapists who are culturally competent. I mean, what resources are available, Speaker 2: 09:36 Finding someone that speaks the language. Um, it's not that it's relatively assembled, but there's a lot of resources for that. You can call your insurance panel of your insured and they could give you a list of providers or geared you to the right direction where you can find those bilingual therapists or doctors. Um, if you've called two, one, one, they will give you resources to Spanish speaking, um, therapists or providers also online psychology today. They have psychiatrists, psychologists therapists, um, that specify the language. And a lot of them as psychologists you need, there is that cultural components that you can read on the therapist to see what culture they're from, or some of them give you a little spill on it. Um, but regards to culturally competent, um, I think we definitely need to have some work in regards to that. Um, like I said earlier in the interview, um, one thing is speaking Spanish and the other one is understanding the culture. Speaker 1: 10:31 I have been speaking with Lizeth ma who is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Chula Vista. ETH, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks so much.