Breaking the mental health stigma in minority communities

Local News

HARLINGEN – Mental Health can be a stigma within minorities where culture and family dynamics sometimes make people feel help is not an option.

“With COVID-19 these depression, anxiety has increased a lot, domestics violence has increased because people are not paying attention to their mental health and it ends up in situations like that,” said Dr. Michael Escamilla Professor of Psychiatry at UTRGV.

Dr. Escamilla says in the Hispanic culture their anxiety and depression is approached by keeping it within the family. A stigma he says can have an impact in your life and needs to be talked about more often in our community.

“There’s a family tradition that sometimes prevents people from getting the help they need. You can use the family support. But they really are medical traditions that need medical support,” he added.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to use mental health services. Where lack of support can lead to bigger problems.

“They do share and open up about some people suffering with something for 20 years before they got help because of the stigma,” he said.

While young people have shown to be more accepting to get help. Escamilla says talking about it helps the community break the stigma.

For more information or to receive immediate help call the 24-hour crisis line available through Tropical Texas Behavioral Health at 1-877-289-7199.

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