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Mental health and domestic violence in the Latino community



The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health, “more than the absence of mental disorders or disabilities… it is a state of well-being in which the person realizes his capacities and is able to cope with the normal stress of the life, working productively and contributing to their community. " Mental health is a set of psychological, social and biological factors. The promotion of mental health goes hand in hand with the environment of the person since in places of low resources and high crime there are more stress factors. For example, in situations of domestic violence the victim is exposed to fear, stress, and despair that they attribute to diminished mental health.


The American Psychological Association (AAP) explains that good mental health leads to a positive self-image while promoting the formation of satisfying relationships and helping to make good decisions and face challenges in everyday life. The AAP links having poor mental health and not seeking help with breaking a body part and not going to the doctor. Likewise, an article in the Ibero-American Psychology journal of the Ibero-American University in Mexico talks about how physical and mental health and social well-being are components that are fundamentally linked.


The article defines marital or domestic violence as, “the abusive act of power or intentional omission, aimed at dominating, subduing, controlling, or physically, verbally, psychologically, patrimonial, economic and sexual assault on whoever is attacked inside or outside of the family home, ”where there is a marriage relationship, cohabitation in the present or past. Beyond this, the historical analysis of violence within the family revealed that it is a learned behavior, transmitted from generation to generation. This underscores the importance of seeking help for the mental health of not only the victim, but the children in a situation of domestic violence. The article also mentions that the psychological damage caused by domestic violence is produced in the emotional sphere and contrary to physical abuse where there are, generally, visible traces in the emotional sphere, the victim is the only person who can refer their feelings and emotional discomforts .


In terms of biological factors, there are disorders that affect the Latinx community at the same rate as the rest of the population, such as schizophrenia, generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder. However, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only 27.3% of Latinxs with a mental health condition sought professional help for their mental health care in 2012. Biological disorders and social factors and Psychological factors that affect mental health do not exist in separate spheres, but can be present at the same time. Mental health in victims of domestic violence and other types of abuse is as important as physical health since a person's healing has to be complete. To find general mental health information and to find treatment services in your area, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) referral line at 1-800-662 -4537.



Mil Mujeres is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2007 to address the growing need for bilingual legal services for the Latino community in the United States with an emphasis on helping survivors of violent crime, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and assault. criminal. In the last fourteen years, we have helped more than five thousand people with our legal services and more than twenty thousand people with our information services throughout the national territory.