Credits: National Center for Biotechnology Information
LITTLE ROCK – In a recent study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), of the 62.1 million Hispanics residing in the United States since the last 2020 census, only 21,114,000 receive mental health care, including many of the nearly 257,000 Latinos who live in Arkansas.
Of all Hispanics living in the country, just over 30 million are men, while more than 29 million are women, but in general they all face many barriers to obtaining health coverage, ranging from not speaking English and other components, as explained by Dr. Elizabeth Fraga, a Latino-focused professional and professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
“Some Hispanics don’t feel comfortable speaking entirely in English, and sometimes the values of the psychotherapy or the therapist are anti-ethical toward patients who are not fluent in English,” Elizabeth said.
But not only that, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), reports that there are several differences and nonsense practices between the Hispanic population, ranging from socioeconomic and geographic issues.
So it takes into account that they are associated with the lack of insurance coverage and almost no access to medical providers, including education disadvantages and low income families.
These barriers lead them to many health obstacles, compared to 55% of non-Hispanic whites who do have health coverage.
Professor at the Department of Health and Science at the University of Oregon, Leslie B. Hammer, says she is concerned about these statistics that if they are not address quickly, cases of mental health will increase in the coming years.
“Mental health is a crisis in our country and in general elsewhere around the world,” Hammer said. “Among American adults, 1 in 5 experiences a mental illness, and 1 in 20 has a serious mental illness.”
Although the teacher also indicated that mental problems lead young people between 18 and 34 years to commit suicide, establishing this as the second cause of death between that age.
Base on the concerns of mental health increasing in our societies, Miss Hammer urge that those clinics treating patients, should focus on adding bilingual staff and prepare written guidelines and documentations in Spanish to meet the growing need of the emerging cultures of our society.
These important steps, she said, it will guarantee equality in health care and reduce the barriers that prevent acquiring health care for the most vulnerable people.
She also mentioned having providers who speak the same language as those who don’t speak English, so that the patient feels more confident and understands the procedures to be followed.
According to the Arkansas NAMI, mental illness is a mental pattern of behavior that causes either suffering or an impaired ability to function in a person’s ordinary life, but also involves changes in thinking, causing different emotions.
NAMI recommends that people with mental illness should be kept in hospital with adequate treatment and moral support until mental health problems reduces in a patient’s diagnose, so they can start living a life independently, without the need for supervision.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of mental illness can differ depending on the patient’s disorder, the circumstances and other factors such as the individual’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors, and so they put up some guidelines to detect anyone with signals of mental disorders:
- If you or know anyone feeling sad or depressed
- If your or their thinking is confused or the ability to concentrate is reduced
- If you or they have excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
- Extreme mood swings of ups and downs
- Retreat from friends and activities
- Significant tiredness, low energy, or trouble sleeping
- Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
- Problems understanding and relating to situations and people
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Major changes in eating habits
- Changes in sexual desire
- Excessive anger, hostility, or violence
- Suicidal thoughts (get help right away)
Although the Mayo Clinic also confirms that sometimes the symptoms of a mental health disorder can appear as physical problems, stomach and back pain, but sometimes painfully.
If you are experiencing mental disorders or know anyone, you can contact the NAMI HelpLine nationwide, of which operates Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.to 10 p.m., ET.
Or by calling 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), and if you prefer email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated on June 10, 2022 by Ramón Warini