Stress, Anxiety, Depression Affect Latinos More than Ever


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More Americans than ever before are stressed, depressed, and coping with anxiety on a regular basis.

According to a new study, an estimated 8.3 million adults in the U.S. (close to 3.5%) suffer from serious psychological distress. What’s worse, many are unable to get the help they need to either treat there conditions or even get a diagnosis.

In a separate report, the American Psychological Association (APA) found disparities in their recent Stress in America survey, noting that Latinos in particular suffer from the highest levels of stress.

“Latinos reported the highest stress across four major sources of stress including money, employment, family responsibilities and health concerns,” the survey said.

From the survey, 1 in 5 Latinos report never having engaged in any stress-relieving activities. Stress of this level impacts all facets of life, including interaction with children and other family members. Of those surveyed, 46% of all parents reported losing their patience and/or yelling at their children.

Since Latinos frequently lack access to mental health resources, these problems often become greatly exacerbated.

“Mental illness is on the rise. Suicide is on the rise. And access to care for the mentally ill is getting worse,” said lead researcher Judith Weissman, research manager in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City in an interview with CBS News. “This is a very disturbing finding because of the implications of what mental illness can do to a person in terms of their ability to function and their life span.”

From 2006-2014, health care services access “deteriorated” for those with serious psychological distress. The researchers estimated that nearly 10% of distressed Americans in 2014 did not have health insurance or did not have coverage that gave them access to a psychiatrist or mental health counselor.

“Earning and sustaining a living is getting harder for people, especially for men,” Weissman said. “The loss of jobs could mean there’s a loss of community and a loss of role as wage earners and providers.”

Research has consistently shown that many factors impact mental health functioning and stress among people from ethnic minority groups. These include cultural stigmas, language barriers, and limited access.

The study examined federal health data and included information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 35,000 households in the country participated in the study.

“We need to increase access to care for the mentally ill,” she said. “We also need to put trained psychiatrists and mental health providers within the primary care setting. If you have linkages of care within primary care, then the mentally ill patient can be helped even if they’ve come in for some other reason.”

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