Cultural stigma remains a barrier to behavioral health treatment utilization for Latinos. To better serve the community, L.A. CADA uses practices endorsed by Dr. Diana Lorenzo of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for working with Latino patients:
Remove the Language Barrier. Employ Spanish-speaking treatment and support staff who can accurately interpret cultural nuances and jargon.
Collaborate with Primary Care. Latinos with a mental health concern are twice as likely to consult a medical doctor (and present with physical complaints) rather than go to a mental health provider. Working with health clinics is vital to reaching this population.
Encourage Family Involvement. Support provided by a Latino patient’s strong family network can help alleviate the stigma of a mental disorder and embolden patients to continue with treatment.
Deliver Culturally Competent Treatment. Understand and incorporate culturally meaningful elements (family, respect, dignity, and trust) in outreach and treatment interventions. Understand cultural-bound syndromes such as “Ataque de Nervios”, “Cólera”, and “Mal de Ojo”.
Provide Education about the Roots of Mental Illness. Knowing the biological underpinnings of mental health disorders is enlightening to many Latinos. An understanding of brain chemicals that play a primary allows them to view the diseases differently.
Watch: Latinos Talk Mental Health