Digital Storytelling Helps Latinas Seek Mental Health Therapy

A UCLA Nursing professor has found that culturally tailored multimedia content holds great promise for encouraging Latina women to seek help for, and address the symptoms of, anxiety and depression.

Latinos are the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S., and they receive less mental health care than whites, even if they have insurance, despite more commonly reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety than whites.mental health of latinas

“In my previous research, I found that Latina participants were hard-working and dedicated to their families,” said MarySue Heilemann, an associate professor at the UCLA School of Nursing, the study’s lead author. “To them, getting much-needed mental health care felt selfish and indulgent. If it doesn’t help the family, they just won’t pursue it.”

Another reason the program was designed for Latina women is the higher than average use of smartphones and the internet. Latinos use smartphones more than any other ethnic group, per a 2016 Nielsen report; and a Pew Research Center analysis found that a high percentage of both English- and Spanish-speaking Latinos use the internet.
The research is published in JMIR Mental Health.