A CNN article published in 2010 states that mental illness among Latinos and whites in the U.S. are about the same but that whites were 60 percent more likely to receive mental health treatment. Only 20 percent of Latinos with a psychological disorder consult a general health-care provider and 10 percent contact a mental-health specialist. So in addition to ignorance, our communities often lack resources and time. Many of us are uninsured. It angers me that mental health, something so vital to living, is treated like a luxury.
The stigma of psychological disorders is also a huge hurdle. Latinos don’t want to be labeled “loco/a.” To some, mental illness is a manifestation of weakness, which is not easy for many immigrants to accept. I know several people in my extended family gossiped about how crazy I was during my most difficult years. It was not until I grew older, became self-sufficient, and received an advanced degree that this notion of me began to change.