There are 62 million Hispanic and Latino people living in the United States — and in 2020, an estimated 7.7 million Hispanic and Latino adults reported experiencing mental illness, per a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Comprised of people with roots in over 20 Latin American countries, the Hispanic and Latino communities in the U.S. are a diverse demographic, ethnically, culturally and economically. Yet they face an overlapping array of obstacles when it comes to getting the help they need, says Ruby Castilla, M.D., Director of Clinical Development, Mood Disorders, at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
The reason for this access gap is an intersection of many factors that prevent people from making mental health a priority, says Dr. Castilla, who served as president of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry from 2020 to 2022. For some, lack of insurance coverage is a problem. For those who emigrated from another country, communication with non-Spanish speaking healthcare professionals is a challenge and if they’re among the roughly 8 million who are undocumented, fear of seeking help is another factor.
“They also may be dealing with traumatic events that occurred in the country they arrived here from,” Dr. Castilla adds. Ultimately, “they have no opportunities to say, ‘I’m suffering; can I receive some support?’”
Johnson & Johnson has made it a mission to create such necessary opportunities to improve mental health for Spanish-speaking people in this country and worldwide. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Dr. Castilla shares more insights into the unique mental healthcare needs Hispanic and Latino people face — and how Johnson & Johnson is actively working to help meet them.
Read more at jnj.com.