Latinos are going through a mental health crisis. This line of text in Spanish seeks to combat it


The nonprofit Crisis Text Line launches the country’s only Spanish-language crisis text line on Friday. Damir Cudic / Obtaining Images

  • The nonprofit Crisis Text Line launches the country’s only Spanish-language crisis text line on Friday.

  • The resource is an attempt to meet the growing demand for bilingual resources amid the nation’s mental health crisis.

  • Those in need of assistance can text HOLA at 741741 or 442-AYUDAME in Whatsapp.

Spanish speakers often have difficulty access mental health resources in their language, but that could change with the launch of the only national Spanish crisis line.

Starting Friday, those in need of assistance can text HOLA at 741741 or 442-AYUDAME in Whatsapp to be put in touch with a Spanish-speaking crisis counselor.

While the nonprofit Crisis Text Line has been providing free crisis counseling via SMS since 2013, its new 24/7 Spanish Text Crisis Line is an attempt to meet the growing demand for bilingual resources. in the country mental health crisis, according to Natalia Dayan, the organization’s director of localization.

“When we decided to create our service, we wanted to make sure that it was not just in Spanish, but that it was culturally competent,” Dayan, who led the launch of the SMS service, told Insider. . “It means going beyond English to Spanish translation and really looking at the needs of this diverse community, including training our counselors to respect the use of different dialects and to understand the different issues this community has. , especially immigrants or mixed-status families, could face, as a generational trauma. “

SMS crisis line takes the extra pressure of talking on the phone or face-to-face

Like a lot of crisis hotlines and resources, The Crisis Text Line has seen an increase in user numbers during the pandemic.

About 40% of the English Text Line’s customers in 2020 were people of color, with over 20% of users identifying as Latino.

Still, the crisis line in Spanish will reach a different group of Latin American communities, according to Juan Velas-Court, consultant for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“In Spanish we have this expression ‘eso es una chingera’, which means it’s nonsense, it’s going to go away,” Velas-Court told Insider. “Latinos use it a lot when it comes to mental illness because there is so much stigma attached to diagnosis and few resources in Spanish to educate people.”

According to a 2015 American Psychological Association survey, only about 6% of therapists of any race or ethnicity offer sessions in Spanish – a percentage that lags behind the growing Latin American population in the United States.

The text-based component of the Crisis Resource also makes services more accessible, Velas-Court said, because people won’t have to worry if someone will recognize their voice or if they start to cry.

Man sitting in the woods

Depression, anxiety, and relationship issues were among the most common issues Latinos spoke about during a pilot version of the Spanish Text Line. Damir Cudic / Getty Images

“If you’ve never talked about your mental health before – and a lot of Latinos haven’t – talking to someone on the phone can be intimidating,” Velas-Court said. “But with the text format, you can take your time and think carefully about what you want to share.”

Crisis Text Line launched a pilot version of the program in Spanish earlier this year, which has generated more than 1,000 text conversations in Spanish.

Depression, anxiety, and relationship issues were among the most common issues Latinos spoke about during these interactions, according to Dayan.

“There’s this tradition where we don’t talk about mental health in our homes, so what if I’m a Latino man who lost his job during the pandemic and I’m depressed?” Said Velas-Court. “I would probably feel like I couldn’t tell anyone in my house because emotionally we don’t feel comfortable talking about these different things.”

Crisis Text Line Isn’t Just For People “Who Are Breathless,” Says Dayan

So what kinds of concerns can people discuss on the crisis text line?

“Anything,” Dayan told Insider. “Latinos often don’t want to take up a lot of room, so they won’t reach out until they’re at their wit’s end, but we’re not just there for you when things get out of hand and you don’t. ‘can’t take any more. “

“We are there for you every step of the way and we urge people to contact us before reaching this stage,” she added.

If you’re not in crisis, but feel compelled to help others, Crisis Text Line’s Spanish resource is looking for bilingual volunteers, per Dayan. After completing an application and training, volunteers are matched with licensed Spanish-speaking mental health professionals who assist them during work shifts.

“There is so much emphasis on individual responsibility, but if you’re having a hard time it’s not your fault and there’s no shame in asking for help,” Dayan said. “If you have diabetes, you won’t try to manage your insulin on your own without the help of a doctor. Mental health is health, and it’s just as important as physical health.”

Read the original article on Initiated


Comments are closed.