Mental health resources in Spanish are on the rise

A crisis helpline worker in 2020. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Latinos and Hispanics are improving access to key mental health services through several recent initiatives.

Why it matters: Suicide rates are up 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 since the start of the pandemic than their white non-Hispanic counterparts, according to the CDC.
  • But the availability of mental health services in Spanish declined between 2014 and 2019, according to a study in the journal Psychiatric Services.

By the numbers: Hispanics in the US make up 19% of the population, but only 6% of licensed psychologists in the US identify as Latino, according to the American Psychological Association.

  • Only 5.5% of therapists can provide services in Spanish. Only 13% of people in the US speak Spanish at home, census data shows.

Details: More than 6,000 Spanish speakers have sought help since Crisis Text Line, a free 24/7 text helpline, 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 Hispanics now make up 19% of people who contact mental health services, chief physician Dr. Shairi Turner, to Axios Latino.
  • The service is recruiting fully bilingual volunteers and mental health professionals because they didn’t want a translation service, Turner says.

Other mental health care have also broadened their scope over the past year. The U.S. federal government’s Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched a new number this summer, 988, in both Spanish and English.

  • The Trevor Project, a leader in suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth, is now active in Mexico and wants to use that Hispanic experience for American Latinos.

If you or someone you know needs support right now, call or text 988 or chat with someone on And Spanish.

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