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Latinx Stigma

Updated: Apr 26

By: Katherine Esquivel, MS, LPC-A, Supervised by Roxanne Deams, LPC-S.

Here at The Conative Group, diversity is an integral value to our mission of helping people. We understand that it can be comforting having a counselor who has a similar cultural background to you and/or can speak your native language.

A middle-aged Latin couple in a business meeting. The husband is shaking hands with another female in a business suit.

For the population of Latin America and their descendants, regardless of their preferred language spoken, we use the gender inclusive term Latinx. Latinx peoples are the largest minority group in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau.

As counselors, we understand that all clients are unique and take pride in their country of origin. Being bicultural and bilingual, these individuals identify with being influenced and/or raised in both their countries culture of origin and the current culture the individual lives in now.

The majority of the Latinx community face a great barrier to seek mental health services, and that is the stigmatization of mental health therapy. In the Latinx community families are brought up being told to not gossip about family or share their personal problems to strangers and that therapy is only for “locos”. The stigma may come from a place of not understanding what therapy truly is, or it may come from a place of denial that something could be “wrong” with them or someone in their family. Therapy helps talk about heavy emotions that we bottle up and carry with us every day that can take a toll on our mental health. Therapy is a place where you can learn to regulate your emotions, challenge unhealthy thinking patterns, and learn new behaviors to improve your quality of life.

I believe in the benefits of therapy and have witnessed it change people’s lives for the better. You are not alone in challenging the stigma, never give up in advocating for your community and most importantly in yourself and your mental health journey.

How to challenge the Latinx stigma surrounding mental health:

  • Talking openly about mental health with family and friends

  • Educating oneself and others about the benefits of mental health

  • Your counselor is a great source of information and advice in this regard

  • Sharing the idea that poor physical and poor mental health are equally as important

  • Being aware of language that may be stigmatizing, such as the terms “locos”

  • Showing compassion to people with mental health conditions

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