Latinos have seen the problem of the lack of Spanish-speaking psychologists intensify at a time when the coronavirus pandemic does not stop and, therefore, the number of people in this community who suffer from anxiety, stress, depression and other series of complications related to mental health.
Jaime Díaz-Granados, Deputy Executive Director of the American Psychological Association (APA), acknowledged in an interview that the covid-19 pandemic has aggravated mental health problems among Latinos, one of the populations most affected by disease and that has increased the demand for care.
“The impact of mental health in the Latino community by COVID-19 is already becoming very clear, we know that researchers have found that Latinos reported higher prevalences in anxiety, depression, increased and substance abuse and suicidal ideas” , He said.
“Latinos themselves are being disproportionately affected by the virus and now face the stress and trauma that comes with family deaths, illness, economic uncertainty and social isolation,” he added.
The expert alluded to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in August, which indicates that almost 30% of coronavirus cases correspond to Hispanics, who nevertheless constitute 18% of the total population of the country.
The lack of Spanish-speaking specialists is long-standing, but the APA has seen an increase in the number of Hispanic psychologists in the last ten years, which is hopeful.
“From 5% of Hispanic psychologists, our data already goes by 7%; and the number of psychologists with doctorates has increased, from 12% in 2009 to 15% in 2019,” explained the expert, who said that although they are auspicious numbers “there is still much to do”.
According to Díaz-Granados, a complication in these statistical data is that Hispanics who do not speak Spanish sometimes cannot be identified. “The latest data we have is that almost 6% identified that they could offer services in Spanish,” he added.
“We know that it is important to receive and offer services in the native language, people feel calmer,” he explained.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the country achieved another gray milestone on Thursday, after adding 123,085 new cases in 24 hours, the highest registered in a single day and a number that brought the global number to 9,600,324 confirmed cases of the SARS-CoV -2 coronavirus, while the number of deaths from the covid-19 disease reaches a total of 234,876.
The spread of the pandemic in the country, the most affected by the number of cases and deaths around the planet, has led to an economic crisis, which has also disproportionately affected Hispanics.
“(Latinos) have a lot of economic uncertainty and there is a high level of discrimination. Health insurance, many people do not have it, almost 30% of Latinos report that they do not have any type of health insurance and if they do, it does not cover the mental health, “explained Díaz-Granados.
The APA official recommended looking for strategies to feel more in control. “The things we can do is take care of ourselves, wear masks, wash hands, practice social distancing. Try to keep a routine in your day so you can help yourself and exercise. Science tells us that regular exercises are good for your health. physical and mental health, “he said.
He further noted the importance of recognizing that social distancing does not have to be synonymous with physical distancing.
“We can be social, we can talk with family and friends by phone, computer, on video, so as not to be so isolated, if even trying all that you feel very anxious, you can go to the APA and there is a filter where you can identify mental health experts in your area “through the website, he added.