How to Find a Therapist Focusing on Latino Mental Health

It’s no secret that there is a stigma in the field of mental health, regardless of demographics. People are afraid to go to therapy because of how Look other people (for the record, he looks healthy).

YWWhile this cuts across cultures, when it comes to the Hispanic community, “there is a negative perception of mental health care in general,” said Dr. Ruby Castilla-Puentes, president of the American Society of Mental Health. Hispanic psychiatry. Therefore, “there are misunderstandings about mental health.”

This can make it difficult for people in the Latino community to realize they need help, talk to loved ones about mental health, and ultimately seek treatment. But, there are many experts who focus on creating safe spaces where people can explore their identity, their emotions, their problems and more.

Here, experts share how to find a therapist who focuses on Latino mental health.

Find an expert who understands your unique culture.

“Hispanics are looking for mental health providers who are culturally competent,” Castilla-Puentes said, adding that this may mean a Spanish-speaking therapist or someone with a deep understanding of the Hispanic-Latino culture.

Castilla-Puentes noted that a lack of communication, whether due to language barriers or cultural misunderstandings, makes many people in the Latino community feel misunderstood by people in the mental health field. This can cause a “lack of confidence in their ability to receive the service they need,” she added.

With that said, Brandie Carlos, founder of Therapy for Latinx, noted that as a community, there is a wide spectrum of cultures and beliefs. “We are not a monolith,” he said. So what is right for one person may not be right for another. “The most important thing is to be clear about what is important to you when looking for a therapist,” she noted.

Make a list of the things you want your therapist to understand about you, your family, or your culture, or make a list of the languages ​​you want them to speak. Carlos noticed that some people don’t want to go to the trouble of translating certain phrases from Spanish to English in therapy, while other people just want someone who speaks English. It is a totally personal preference.

In addition, you must decide what goals you want to achieve in therapy and what topic areas you want to focus on. From there, ask questions when you meet with therapists to see if they’re right for you.

Don’t be afraid to talk to a few different mental health experts.

“[Finding a therapist] it is a lot like dating someone,” Carlos said. And just like dating, he’s perfectly fine to attend a few introductory therapy meetings before you find a therapist you click with.

There is nothing wrong with seeking out a therapist, and all mental health professionals expect this: Not everyone can be a match for every patient.

Before you start therapy, decide what you want from your appointments and what you want from your provider.

SDI Productions via Getty Images

Before you start therapy, decide what you want from your appointments and what you want from your provider.

And don’t discount your own symptoms.

Due to the stigma associated with mental health, it can be difficult to admit that you need support. This is challenging in many cultures, but can be particularly difficult in the Latino community where people are afraid of being labeled “crazy,” according to Castilla-Puentes.

In addition, he noted that research has shown that many people in the community don’t recognize the symptoms of anxiety or depression. Instead, “They believe that depression is not an illness, it is a part of life that they must go through without any treatment.”

If you feel unmotivated, sad, or tired, or find that you no longer enjoy the things you used to, it may be worth finding a mental health provider to talk to. Also, if you are going through a difficult time, such as dealing with the loss of a loved one or going through a breakup, it may be helpful to address any mental health issues head-on when beginning therapy.

If you feel bad, you should know that you do not have to go through a difficult time without any support. Depression is not something you need to “get over” on your own.

If you are afraid of deportation, use word of mouth to find a provider.

The American healthcare field can be challenging for undocumented people, who often worry about being detained or separated from their families. This also rings true in the field of mental health, Carlos noted.

He added that it is not uncommon for these people or their loved ones to avoid care due to these fears. Fears like “what might happen if the mental health provider reports an incident to the police?” come to mind.

In this case, it’s best to use word of mouth to find out who in your area provides safe mental health care. You can talk to undocumented friends, family, or people, or undocumented loved ones. Beyond word of mouth, the Latinx Therapists Action Network is also a good resource for mental health care for the migrant community, Carlos said.

Also, ask how your therapist handles emergency situations, she said. Find out if they call the police when someone is suicidal or if they will call friends and family first. Also, find out if they have any requirements to report the undocumented to government agencies.

Try databases that focus on finding mental health care for the Latino community.

You can refer to specific websites and databases to help you understand your mental health and find a mental health provider who provides culturally competent care. Castilla-Puentes noted that the American Psychiatric Association recently launched a Spanish section of its website, and the American Hispanic Psychiatric Society has a list of providers divided by state.

Carlos added that Therapy for Latinx, Latinx Therapy, and Inclusive Therapists are great ways to find therapists who also focus on Latino mental health.

He also pointed to the Open Path Collective as another good resource that is particularly valuable because it provides people with affordable mental health services.

Try the language filter settings when querying online databases.

Even if you don’t speak Spanish or don’t want to speak Spanish at your therapy appointments, Carlos recommended that you use the language filter on online databases to find someone who speaks Spanish (just make sure they speak English too if you don’t). this). language fluency).

This way, “you could find someone who shares the same culture, even if you don’t speak Spanish,” he said.

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