Crisis Text Line, a not-for-profit organization that provides free, 24/7 text-based mental health support, revealed the 2021 top areas of crisis for LatinX texters. The third annual national data report, “United in Empathy: What 1.3 Million Conversations Say About The State of Mental Health In America” identified the top issues for texters in 2021. Anyone needing mental health support can text HOLA to 741741 to be connected to a live, trained Spanish-speaking volunteer Crisis Counselor or send a message 442-AYUDAME in WhatsApp.
Information from the national report paints a picture of a generation of young adults experiencing a collective mental health crisis. Exploring these thousands of anonymized and de-identified messages through natural language processing helped identify the most prominent emotions on our LatinX texters’ minds last year. Some of the words that soared in popularity compared to 2020 revolved around strong emotions, family and relationships, as well as potential stressors like school and work. The list of top Spanish words used in Crisis Text Line conversations were Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Family, and Work. The trends reveal that some Latinx texters lacked coping skills to handle the stressors, resulting in self-harm, body image issues and substance use.
What’s the solution to this? Crisis Text Line says, it’s empathy. In 2021, over 896 volunteers who identified as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish donated their time to connect with strangers as bilingual volunteer Crisis Counselors. Crisis Text Line, the nonprofit text line serving the most people in the US, provides free, 24/7 crisis intervention support. These volunteer Crisis Counselors had more than 41,800 conversations with Latinx people in crisis, with a majority (78%) of texters under age 24.
Over half (55%) of texters identified as LGBTQ+ based on a voluntary post-conversation survey, and the majority (79%) of identified as women in 2021. The majority of texters (92%) found conversations helpful and Crisis Text Line serviced 91% of high-risk texters in under 5 minutes.
The Latinx community across the U.S. has a hard time finding Spanish-language speakers for mental health care services. According to the recent data released by the American Psychological Association, only 5.5% of U.S. psychologists say they’re able to administer mental health care services in Spanish. Research indicates that language is a primary barrier preventing Spanish speakers in the U.S. from accessing mental health services.
“While the Latinx community shares similar rates of mental illness as the general population, they receive far less mental health support and treatment.” said Natalia Dayan, Global Strategy Director at Crisis Text Line, “This is due to many unique barriers to care including lack of mental health care services in their native language. At Crisis Text Line, we are here to help 24/7 with Spanish-speaking Crisis Counselors.”
Key findings of the report include:
Continuous high rates of anxiety and depression: In 2021, anxiety accounted for 39.6% of conversations among Latinx texters and 37% were about depression.
Increase rates of self-harm and substance abuse: The frequency of conversations with Latine texters about self harm increased by 16% between 2020 and 2021 (from 13.9% in 2020 to 16.1% in 2021). Conversations about substance use increased by 12% (1.8% to 2.0%)
Increase rates of disordered eating and body image issues: Conversations about eating and body issues increased by 13% in 2021 compared to 2020.
The full report will be available online on May 31st at www.crisistextline.com/states
Text HOLA to 741741 or text to 442-AYUDAME in WhatsApp to be connected to a trained volunteer Crisis Counselor in Spanish.
Crisis Text Line is currently accepting applications for bilingual volunteers who would like to become a Crisis Counselor. During the 30-hour training, volunteers will learn how to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning. Applicants must be 18 or older, have a U.S. Social Security Number, along with access to reliable Internet access and a personal computer. For more information visit https://www.crisistextline.org/es/become-a-volunteer.