Mental Health in the Latino Community 


Sometimes I get called “crazy” or “too emotional,” simply for expressing my emotions; emotions that I don’t know how to control. When it comes to my mental health, I usually have to brush it off, since that is a very uncomfortable topic in my household. It’s a topic we rarely speak about. I can’t blame my parents for not wanting to discuss my mental health; it’s rarely talked about in the Latino community. Many Latino families have traditional values. And many of these values are sexist and abusive. These values include never speaking about mental health.

I was around 14 when my depression got worse. I was a freshman at Richmond High, and I was starting to lose motivation for everyday things. Sometimes it was so hard to even try to get up from my bed. My grades were getting worse, and I didn’t have the motivation to even care. I picked up unhealthy habits, such as self harm. I couldn’t tell my family about this because I knew they would just be uncomfortable and brush it off. Or they would tell me to just start acting happy, as if my emotions were an off and on switch. My mental health was a terrifying topic in my home. 

One thing that did help me during my dark time was reading. I would read books from school and I started reading comics on my phone. This soon inspired me to start writing stories of my own and I slowly began to pick up on my old hobbies like sketching and drawing. I started to focus on those things since they made me happy and over time, my mental health got better. 

I’m pretty sure  I am not the only person who has had to deal with this issue. As I mentioned, many Latino families continue living with traditional values. Many families speak about mental health like it is a horrible thing that is to never be spoken about.  

I’m trying to spread awareness about prioritizing mental health for Latino teens.  I want this topic to be talked about more in my own school, community, family, or any other Latinx community.  I want other Latinos to stop trying to deny it and instead try to at least speak more about it, so others who are dealing with their mental health issues can seek help and find closure.

I found comfort in writing random stories and sketching. While that helped me get better, everyone heals differently. Something that we should normalize in the Latino community is finding and seeking help in things such as therapy. We have mental health issues too, and we need more help, no matter how much those in our community want to deny it.

Listen to the podcast format here.