Are you a Latino or Latina struggling with mental health?
Are you unsure if you should reach out to a therapist because you don’t know if they will understand where you are coming from?
You aren’t the only one.
There are trained mental health professionals who understand your culture. Not only have they been through extensive training, but they may be able to provide you education about Culture-Bound Syndromes, which we will address in this blog post.
The Growing Latino Population in the United States
“Latinos are a multiracial, multicultural group.” – APA Website
This is so true because Latinos come from multiple countries, not just Mexico which is a common misconception. Latinos come from other parts of the world such as the Caribbean, Central, and South America too. Although – the majority of them do speak Spanish – there are others who still speak their own indigenous tribal language.
The Latino population makes up about 16% (more than 50 million) of the American population and is continuing to grow.
Here is a list of the largest 5 U.S. Hispanic populations by country of origin in the United States. These stats are from Pew Research.
- Mexicans – 64.2% of Hispanics
- Puerto Ricans – 9.3% of Hispanics
- Cubans – 3.7% of Hispanics
- Salvadorans – 3.7% of Hispanics
- Dominicans – 3.1% of Hispanics
It is important for you and mental health professionals to understand the diversity in the Latino culture and how it impacts how their view of mental health.
What are Culture-Bound Syndromes?
We are going to share with you some Hispanic Culture-Bound Syndromes examples. These are terms that you may have heard growing up as a Latino.
Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of General Hospital Psychiatry (Sixth Edition) defines Culture-Bound Syndromes as the following: “A culture-bound syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms that are restricted to a limited number of cultures by reason of certain psychosocial features. Culture-bound syndromes are usually restricted to a specific setting, and they have a special relationship to that setting”.
According to Science Direct, Culture-Bound Syndromes were created to help Western medicine professionals understand other cultures to help them diagnose and treat mental disorders for people of different cultural backgrounds.
Culture-Bound Syndromes Examples That You May Have Heard Of At Home
Now is time for some examples. Once you’ve read some examples you will have a better understanding of what that means. Growing up you may have heard some of the following terms from your mother, grandmother, or in the Latin media.
- Ataque de Nervios = nervous breakdown.
- Cólera = anger and rage that causes body imbalances that lead to a headache, stomach pain, loss of consciousness, and fatigue.
- Mal de ojo= medical problems that could result from getting the evil eye from another person.
- Susto, Miedo, Espanto, Pasmo = tiredness and weakness resulting from a frightening and startling experience.
- Illness from the Wind or Cold Weather = a fear of cold weather or the wind because it could leave you feeling weak or lead you to illness. This results from the belief that natural and supernatural elements are unbalanced.
These Culture-Bound Syndromes examples came from Handbook of multicultural mental health: Assessment and treatment of diverse populations according to Science Direct according to the APA.
It is important for all those who need mental health help to seek it regardless of what your cultural background is.
And if you are a Latino(a) – we are here to help you with your mental health because we understand where you are coming from.
Search our directory today to find a therapist to help you improve or manage your mental health.