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Lack of mental health access to Latino community

By Oriza Hernandez

Most recently, there has been an increased push for initiatives geared towards creating awareness among local communities with regards to mental health. It is reported that 1 of every 4 persons are affected by a mental health illness in a given year. Mental health illnesses are not confined to a specific race, gender, age or other populations. Yet, it is concerning how infrequently our Hispanic/Latino community is accessing mental health services.
As a Latina who has experienced the emotional toll of having a relative suffering from mental health, I believe it is imperative to bring attention to the importance of seeking support. The Latino community may often fear the unknown and being identified as “loco,” a misleading identification of what a mental health illness truly is. We must continue creating awareness within our communities and strive to remove the stigma that is too often attached to mental illness. Seeking support should not be viewed as a weakness, but instead should be viewed as strength.