Mental health services for Latinos are in low supply, higher demand due to COVID-19

Mental health services for Latinos are in low supply, higher demand due to COVID-19
Posted on Oct 23 2020
Poynter.org

For years, Latinos have faced challenges in obtaining culturally competent mental health care. And the need is only growing during the pandemic, as practitioners across the country receive more referrals from patients within the Latinx community. Only 5.5% of psychologists can provide services in Spanish, according to a 2015 APA survey, and U.S. Census data shows only 7% of psychologists identify as Hispanic. Mónica Villalta, the national director of inclusion and diversity at NAMI, is well aware of this void in mental health services. “When you add the added layer that those services are costly, that the system is complicated, and that many of the individuals in our community do not have insurance to begin with,” she said, “prior to 2020 we were already in a sort of a crisis.” That crisis, Villalta and other mental health professionals across the country say, is amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic as Latinos are disproportionately impacted by the virus and cope with the trauma, stress and anxiety that comes with family deaths, illness, economic uncertainty, and social isolation. According to CDC data, Latinos comprise nearly 30% of the country’s COVID-19 cases, yet make up 18% of the U.S. population.