Your Health Matters: Latinos are struggling with mental health amid COVID-19

Health News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Oftentimes, we hear about COVID-19’s impact on elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions.  But I wanted to find out how it impacts the overall mental health of another important part of our population: Latinos.

“It is creating a lot of anxiety and depression. There is not a lot of material for Latinos who don’t speak English. The signage is not there,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Nydia Conrad.

En Español: Tu Salud Importa: El COVID-19 continúa afectando a más latinos
En Español: Tu Salud Importa: Los latinos están luchando con la salud mental en medio de COVID-19

Dr. Conrad is concerned about how the coronavirus is impacting Latinos and their mental health.  She says Latinos, just like everyone else, were dealing with anxiety and depression issues even before the pandemic hit.  But most do not get professional mental health care.  According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, only 20 percent of Latinos with symptoms of a psychological disorder talk to a doctor about their symptoms, and only 10 percent contact a mental health professional.

“There are a number of different issues in terms of the Latin American community.  One of them has to do with the language barrier.  Part of it is, ‘Will there be someone there to hear me and understand me?’ The ones who do get mental health service, they don’t continue because ultimately they feel they are not understood.  Some of it has to do with a cultural competency issue with clinicians not understanding them,” says Dr. Conrad.

Perhaps Dr. Conrad is right.  Consider this statistic, according to 2018 data from the American Psychological Association only 6 percent of U.S. psychologists are Latinos. 

“There are no clinicians who really speak Spanish,” says Dr. Conrad.  She says we all experience stress and we should not be ashamed to get professional help.  And it starts in part with people in her profession.

“Some of the responsibility belongs to us as clinicians to be able to reach out more, also for people listening to this program to know that there are resources out there,” says Dr. Conrad.

Dr. Conrad said resources include some clinicians, who may offer a reduced fee if you call them.  It’s called a sliding scale fee.  Also if needed you could call the Hispanic Services Council at 813-936-7700.

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