Hispanics and Latinos

Hispanics and Latinos are the fastest growing demographic groups in Texas. Accounting for 65% of the total population growth in Texas over the last decade, the Hispanic and Latino population now accounts for 38% of the total Texas population (compared to 16% national average). Texans of Hispanic and Latino origin are a vital and unique part of the Texas cultural fabric. As a result, it is imperative that these unique characteristics be factored in when assessing and providing mental health care to this growing population.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS

Wages, housing and employment generally are all factors that affect mental health. In 2010, 26.4% of Texas Hispanics earned income below the poverty line, versus 9.2% of non-Hispanics. This disparity contributes to access to health care in general and mental health care specifically. According to a survey conducted for Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, In 2010, uninsured Texans accounted for 27.8% of the population—ranking it first nationally for uninsured adults. This survey indicated nearly 1 in 3 adults in Texas was uninsured in 2010; the majority of the uninsured were persons of Hispanic and Latino origin.

Since health insurance is often tied to employment, which is often tied to educational attainment. According to the American Medical Association, over half of the population aged 25 and over do not have a high school diploma, thereby further impacting their wage earning potential and access to health insurance.

CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS

There are numerous cultural considerations related to mental health within the Hispanic and Latino communities. According to the American Psychological Association website, some of these considerations include:

  • Familismo. Many Latinos come from tightly knit families and feel disloyal discussing family problems with outsiders.
  • Simpatia. Unlike mainstream American culture, which often expects individuals to assertively voice their concerns, Latino cultures tend to place greater value on interpersonal harmony.
  • Respeto. Latino cultures tend to give greater deference and respect to individuals in positions of authority than mainstream American culture does.
  • Personalismo. The detached professional relationship that many therapists cultivate with their clients may seem alien to those Latinos that adhere to the value of close interpersonal relationships.

Language BARRIER CONSIDERATIONS

One of the largest barriers impacting the Hispanic and Latino Texan is language.   According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic and Latinos accounted for 38% of the Texas population, and within this population, 75% or more of those aged 5 and older spoke a language other than English at home. Coupled with the above considerations, the ability to access culturally competent care is critical to effectively serving the mental health needs of the Hispanic and Latino population in Texas. Mental health services should be adapted to compensate for cultural and linguistic differences.

HISPANIC CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Over the last decade, Texas has added 1 million children under the age of to the state, 95% were of Hispanic or Latino.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty report titled “Challenges and Opportunities in Children’s Mental Health: A view from Families and Youth, NCCP found that 61% of Hispanic and Latino children live in poverty, over double the rate of white children. As a result, due to a converge of socio-economic, language, and cultural issues, mental health needs for Hispanic and Latino children is greatly underserved.

RESOURCES

American Physchological Association: Cultural Considerations

People Who Spoke a Language Other Than English at Home by Hispanic Origin and Race: 2009

El alcohol y la depresion:  El camino de Jorge hacia una vida major