Mental illness is something that I have dealt with all my life – only without knowing it.
My mother was diagnosed with a severe mental-health disorder late last year. As is the case with many Latinos who seek mental health services, my mother was one of the 75 percent who never returned after an initial consultation.
As luck would have it, I am finishing up a master’s degree in social work and am now all too aware of the reasons behind the disconnect between Latinos and the mental-health service sector. As a bilingual mental health trainee, I see the cultural and systemic barriers with a unique perspective.
And, as the daughter of someone who lives in a rural area with limited access to mental-health services, I worry that unless things change, it may be too late for some.
Such is the case for lives that are lost everyday to suicide. There needs to be a stronger focus on improving mental-health intervention and treatment for Latinos.
Catalina Gonzalez, Fresno