Addressing Latinos’ Mental Health Needs

Oct 17, 2014

Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola's talk at the Latino Health Forum Thursday morning was titled, ""If You Build It, Will They Come? Closing the Mental Health Treatment Gap for Latinos." He is seen here giving the same presentation to the the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland last month.

  The overall health needs of California’s Latino population are widely underserved. That shortfall is even greater when it comes to mental health services.

Mental illnesses are not exactly contagious, noted Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis, but within families they can be readily shared, especially between parents and children.

There is a high correlation between poverty and mental illness, one that is exacerbated by the shortage of treatment options. But as this graphic shows, treatment alone is not enough to break the “vicious cycle” that perpetuates that linkage.