“I didn’t plan to become a psychiatrist,” said James P. Comer, M.D., M.P.H., the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center. “It was the only thing in medical school that I said I would never do – public health was the other – and I ended up doing both. As I worked, I began to see that the individuals were being impacted by history, by political economics and social conditions that they have little control over, and that impacted the ability of families to function, the ability to rear their children well, the ability to participate and feel belonging in society – and that was related to racism.
One in five (22%) Hispanics/Latinos have a mental illness and one in 20 have a serious mental illness, according to the latest federal government data (SAMHSA 2023). Yet only 36% of Hispanics/Latinos received mental health services, compared to 52% of whites. During Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), we can celebrate the achievements and contributions of Hispanics/Latinos while also acknowledging the equity work that still needs to be done to increase access to care and decrease stigma around mental health and substance use. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals can help meet the moment by considering Hispanic/Latino communities’ varied needs, including language fluency and cultural competency.
An estimated 14% of the U.S. population speaks Spanish at home, and 16 million Spanish speakers have limited English proficiency(1). In addition to the potential barrier of lack of language services, recent research has identified other factors contributing to inequities in access and outcomes for Spanish-speaking patients, including perceived discrimination, and mistrust and privacy concerns.(2)
Hispanic Heritage Month: Talking about Music, Music Therapy and Sharing Experiences in an Inpatient Setting
- By Ruby C. Castilla-Puentes, M.D., Dr.P.H., M.B.A.
During Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) we celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from the Caribbean, Spain, Mexico and Central and South America. I would like to start this article by noting that I am not an expert in music therapy, so my perspective is quite narrow. However, I will share some background, history, my own experience and resources to hopefully spark some ideas for you to incorporate music from this rich and diverse cultural collective. I would like to share my experience with staff members and families in the acute patient unit of the Mental Health Unit at Santa Clara Hospital
Elevating Bebe Moore Campbell's Legacy in 2023: APA's Dynamic Approach to National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month: Part 2
In response to the U.S. Surgeon General's advisory on the youth mental health crisis in the U.S., APA held the inaugural APA Moore Equity in Mental Health Youth Summit on July 12. Through this one-day summit, APA collaborated with the Marion Barry Youth Leadership Institute to design a youth-centered mental health event focused on cultivating mental wellness among 150 young people of color in Washington, D.C. This summit aimed to increase mental health awareness, empower youth to advocate for their own mental wellness, facilitate peer support and engagement, and introduce youth attendees to early career mental health clinicians. Given the disconcerting youth mental health statistics, this event had a critical role in creating a space for open dialogue directly with youth.