Feel Seen & Supported: Latine Mental Health Resources

Mental health issues affect people of all backgrounds, including Latines. However, Latines face unique challenges when it comes to mental health that warrant special attention. 

Latines are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States. As of 2022, around 63.3 million Latines live in the U.S., making up approximately 19% of the total population. As the Latine population continues to grow, so does the need for culturally competent mental health services.

Unfortunately, Latines have historically had less access to mental health resources compared to non-Latine white people in the United States. They are also less likely to seek mental health treatment even when services are available. Some of the barriers that prevent Latines from accessing care include stigma, lack of Spanish-speaking providers, lack of health insurance coverage, and lack of culturally appropriate care.

Common mental health conditions affecting the Latine community include anxiety, depression, PTSD, and substance abuse. Latines are also at higher risk for suicidal ideation and behavior compared to other ethnic groups. 

While the mental health needs in the Latine community are great, there are ways to increase access to quality care. Providing services in Spanish, integrating mental health treatment into primary care, working with promotoras (community health workers), and addressing culturally-specific factors can help break down barriers to treatment.

This article will provide an in-depth look into the state of Latine mental health. It will examine why mental illness can be difficult to talk about, barriers to accessing care, and information on conditions like depression, anxiety, and more. The goal is to spread awareness and provide resources to support the mental well-being of the Latine community.


Cultural Stigma

For many Latine individuals and families, mental health conditions are highly stigmatized. There is often a belief that mental illness is a sign of weakness or a punishment. Many Latines think mental health problems should be kept private versus talking about them openly with a care provider. 

The stigma leads to feelings of shame and prevents people from seeking treatment. Some families may try to ignore the symptoms or explain them as physical problems rather than mental ones. Admitting to mental illness can be seen as bringing shame on the family. 

In Latine culture, there is a significant emphasis on the family unit, prioritizing it over individual needs. As a result, mental health issues may be perceived as a failure to fulfill family duties and responsibilities, contributing to the stigma surrounding mental health in this community.

The stigma is also influenced by traditional gender roles, where men often feel pressure to appear strong and resilient, while women feel obligated to prioritize the needs of the family. This societal expectation further exacerbates the reluctance to address mental health concerns openly.

Seeking mental health care can sometimes be viewed as airing the family’s “dirty laundry,” as there may be concerns about privacy and the potential spreading of personal issues within the Latine community. Many Latines fear judgment and negative perceptions for having a mental health condition, which creates additional barriers to seeking necessary help.


Access to Care

Many Latine individuals face barriers when trying to access mental health care services and resources. Two major obstacles are lack of health insurance coverage and language barriers.

According to research, Latines are the least likely racial or ethnic group to have health insurance in the United States. Without insurance, paying for therapy sessions, psychiatric services, and medications can be prohibitively expensive. Community health centers provide affordable care, but have long wait times due to high demand. As a result, Latines often cannot access the mental health services they require in a timely manner.

Even when Latines have health insurance, finding Spanish-speaking mental health professionals can be extremely difficult. Most therapists only speak English, making it hard for Spanish-speaking patients to communicate their symptoms and issues effectively. This language gap often prevents Latines from building trust and strong therapeutic relationships with providers. As a result, Latine patients frequently drop out of treatment early.


Depression in Latine Community Members

Depression is the most widely known mental health issue, but is more common in Hispanic/Latine communities than is commonly realized. Studies show that Hispanic/Latine adults have higher rates of depressive symptoms than the white US population. Symptoms of depression in Hispanic/Latine communities can include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable  
  • Changes in appetite and sleep habits
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or guilt
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

However, depression often goes undiagnosed or untreated in Hispanic/Latine communities. Some of the key barriers are stigma, lack of Spanish-speaking providers, and lack of access to care. When depression is left untreated, it can worsen and lead to serious consequences like suicide. 

Some effective treatments for depression include therapy, medications, support groups, lifestyle changes, and community-based services. You can consult your healthcare provider to discover which of these treatments is right for you: 

  • Therapy can help people better understand and cope with depressive thoughts and behaviors. 
  • Medications like antidepressants may help improve mood and relieve symptoms for some individuals. 
  • Support groups provide a setting to talk openly with others facing similar challenges. 
  • Making positive lifestyle changes to diet, exercise, and sleep habits can also make a difference.
  • Community health workers can assist with access to resources and information in people’s native language. 

With proper treatment, most people can manage their depression successfully.


Anxiety in the Latine Community

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health issues affecting Latines in the United States. Studies have found that Latines have higher rates of generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD compared to non-Latine whites.


Research shows that approximately 22.4% of Latine adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorders. For Latines born in another country, the prevalence rises to 30%. 

Latina women in the United States are more likely to experience depression and anxiety compared to Latino men. In fact, the rates of these mental health issues are twice as high for Latina women compared to Latino men.


Anxiety can cause both emotional and physical symptoms. Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include excessive worrying, restlessness, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and feeling on edge. Anxiety may also cause rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, and shortness of breath.


Anxiety disorders are highly treatable with professional help. Evidence-based treatments for anxiety include: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Helps patients identify and change negative thought patterns contributing to anxiety. 
  • Exposure therapy: Gradually exposes patients to feared situations in a safe, controlled setting. 
  • Relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can also help manage anxiety symptoms 
  • Anti-anxiety medications: SSRIs and SNRIs may be prescribed in conjunction with therapy for more severe cases of anxiety. Discuss this option with your healthcare provider, who will be able to give you more information.

Unfortunately, access barriers prevent many Latines from receiving proper treatment for anxiety. Reducing stigma around mental illness and increasing access to culturally competent care could greatly benefit the Latine community.


PTSD in the Latine Community 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that some U.S. Latines experience after undergoing a traumatic event. Many Latines have lived through extremely difficult circumstances prior to immigrating to the United States. The journey crossing the border can also be incredibly traumatic, with threats of violence, family separation, and lack of food or water.  

Once in the U.S., Latines may continue to experience trauma related to poverty, discrimination, family separation, or struggling to adjust to a new culture. Intergenerational and historical trauma are also factors, as the trauma of ancestors can be passed down through generations.

Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Avoiding places or situations that remind them of the trauma is common. Some try to numb their feelings with alcohol or drugs. But PTSD left untreated can severely impact work, relationships, and overall health. Finding a counselor who speaks Spanish, understands Latine culture, and uses alternative healing methods can help overcome PTSD. Support groups, meditation, exercise, and community activities also aid in recovery.


Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a significant issue affecting Latine communities. According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), data shows that past year substance use disorder among Hispanic and Latine Americans was reported at 15.7%, with rates of illicit drug use at 19.4% and unmet treatment needs at 15%1. These statistics reflect the challenges and struggles faced by many within these communities.

Research indicates that substance abuse prevalence rates among the Latine population generally mirror those of the general U.S. population. However, it is important to acknowledge that several factors, such as assimilation to U.S. culture and sociodemographic variables, can contribute to substance use and abuse within this group. This highlights the need for tailored approaches to address substance abuse in Latine communities.

One of the barriers to accessing treatment for substance abuse within the Latine community is the fear of being judged for seeking help or struggling with addiction. Many individuals worry about the stigma associated with addiction and the potential negative impact it may have on their relationships, work, and overall well-being. Additionally, there is a lack of culturally competent programs and Spanish-speaking counselors, which can further hinder access to appropriate care.

However, seeking treatment is crucial for recovery, improved mental health, and preventing relapses. Counseling, support groups, and inpatient programs have shown effectiveness in addressing substance abuse issues. 

If you are concerned about substance abuse issues for you or a loved one, seek judgment-free help now.



Suicide is a major public health concern in the Latine community. In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Hispanics between the ages of 15 and 34. Several factors put Latines at an elevated risk:

  • Cultural stigma: Mental health issues are often seen as taboo in Latine culture, causing many to suffer in silence rather than seek help. This isolation puts people at greater risk.
  • Lack of access to care: Many Latines are uninsured or underinsured, making it difficult to get professional help. Language barriers also play a role.  
  • High rates of depression: Latines have higher rates of depressive disorders than the general population. Untreated depression is closely tied to suicide risk.
  • Financial stress: Poverty, low wages, and lack of upward mobility contribute to despair and suicidal thoughts.  
  • Discrimination: The daily experience of discrimination due to ethnicity or immigration status takes a heavy toll on mental health.
  • Loss of traditional culture: Assimilation into American culture can lead to a loss of traditional values and community support. 

There are several ways to help prevent suicide in the Latine community:

  • Reduce stigma through outreach and education campaigns. Talk openly about mental health struggles. 
  • Improve access to Spanish-language mental health services and providers. Offer low-cost or free options.
  • Teach people the warning signs of suicide so they can support loved ones and get them help.
  • Promote strong family ties and community support networks as protective factors.  
  • Reduce access to lethal means during times of crisis. Safely secure firearms and medications.
  • Offer culturally competent counseling that understands Latine cultural values.

If you or a Latine loved one are having thoughts of suicide, help is available. Contact our local 24/7 crisis hotline or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for free 24/7 support. There is hope, and you are not alone.


Finding Help

There are many resources available to help Latine individuals struggling with mental health concerns. Here are some options to consider:


  • Look for therapists who specialize in working with Latine clients. They will understand cultural factors and how to provide culturally competent care. 
  • Ask for referrals from your primary care doctor, community centers, or friends and family. Get recommendations for Latine therapists they trust.
  • Seek therapists who are fluent in Spanish or offer services in Spanish if you prefer. This makes it easier to communicate openly.
  • Consider the therapist’s background and identity. You may feel most comfortable with a shared cultural background. However an open, culturally sensitive therapist of any ethnicity can help.


Remember, you are not alone. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources to support Latine mental health and well-being.


SummitStone Health Partners: Your Partner in Mental Health

Mental health challenges can affect anyone, but cultural stigma and barriers to accessing care can make it especially difficult for Latines to get the help they need. However, the Latine community is incredibly resilient. With compassion, understanding, and support, we can work together to break down stigma, improve access to culturally competent care, and foster mental well-being.  

If you or a loved one is struggling, know that help is out there. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional that understands your culture and language. There are many resources available, including those offered by organizations like SummitStone Health Partners, that are here to support you. You don’t have to face mental health challenges alone.  

Taking that first step to seek help can be scary, but it is so important. By starting the conversation around mental health in our communities, we can promote understanding and healing. Support each other, advocate for improved services, and speak out against stigma. There is hope. Recovery is possible. Todo va a estar bien – everything will be alright.