Mental health resources in Spanish are increasing
Latinos and Spanish speakers are getting better access to key mental health services thanks to several recent initiatives.
Why it matters: Suicide rates increased in 2020 for Latinos and Black non-Hispanics, according to CDC data released yesterday.
- A higher percentage of Latinos in the U.S. have reported symptoms of depression than their white non-Hispanic counterparts since the pandemic began, per the CDC.
- But the availability of mental health services in Spanish dropped between 2014 and 2019, according to a study in the journal Psychiatric Services.
By the numbers: Hispanics in the U.S. make up 19% of the population, but only 6% of licensed psychologists in the U.S. identify as Latino, according to the American Psychological Association.
- Only 5.5% of therapists are able to provide services in Spanish. But 13% of people in the U.S. speak Spanish at home, census data shows.
Details: Over 6,000 Spanish speakers have reached out for help since Crisis Text Line, a free 24/7 text message counseling hotline, launched a Spanish version of its services a year ago, the organization says. They also launched a WhatsApp version, which many Latinos prefer for messaging.
- Hispanics and Spanish speakers now make up 19% of people who reach out to the mental health service, its chief health officer, Shairi Turner, tells Axios Latino.
- The service recruits fully bilingual volunteers and mental health professionals because they did not want a translation service, Turner says.
Other mental health services have also broadened their scope in the past year. The U.S. federal government's Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched a new number, 988, this summer in both Spanish and English.
- The Trevor Project, a leader in suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth, is now operating in Mexico and looking to use that Spanish speaker experience for U.S. Latinos.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect Shairi Turner is the chief health officer, not chief medical officer.