The Latino Population Is Not Only An Integral Part Of The Development Of Healthy Latino Communities

The Latino Population Is Not Only An Integral Part Of The Development Of Healthy Latino Communities

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As the Latino population continues to grow, mental health status is not only an integral part of the development of healthy Latino communities, but also fundamental to the overall health of our nation. Latinos are a young, vital, and growing part of our nation’s population, and their impact as productive members of U.S. society will be let down if their mental health issues are not adequately addressed. This is also true about their parents, caregivers or family members that raise them to become productive members of society. According to the U.S Census Bureau, it is estimated that by the year 2050 more than 25% of the U.S. population will be Latino (2010). Given the fact that Latinos are among the most youthful minority population, a significant share will be active members of the U.S. workforce. Jensen (2006) states that Latinos are attracted to new job opportunities and the low cost of living outside of major metropolitan areas. Between 2000 and 2006 the total population in small towns and rural areas increased by 3 percent, but the Latino population in these counties grew from 2.6 million to 3.2 million, a 22 percent increase. Since 1990, the Latino population in small towns and rural areas has more than doubled. Living in small rural areas has its downfalls, as most of these areas lack resources needed by community members. Thus, making it difficult to meet the mental health needs of Latino individuals who reside in those areas. Although there are many factors that have historically led Latinos to underutilize mental health services, there are two critical factors that need to be considered, as they seem to be the most prevalent among Latinos and have been for many years; lack of health insurance and the lack of bilingual me...

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... families. In addition, it is important to educate the community on the free services available to them to increase the utilization of services.
The MHSA has been attempting to implement new bilingual programs that can modify services to increase engagement of Latinos. The mental health care system must allow flexibility for programs exploring practices and interventions, encouraging them to take risks in their innovations. There needs to be more education for mental health professionals about the Latino community so they can better understand their clientele and at the same time, the client (Latinos) would feel more understood and validated. There is a lot of work to be done by the mental health department regarding the Latino community. But as I stated, the major issues for Latinos are the lack of health insurance and the lack of bilingual mental health services.

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