Availability of Spanish-language mental health services declining

Though the U.S. Hispanic population is growing, providers of Spanish-speaking mental health services are diminishing, a study published in Psychiatric Services May 3 found.

Between 2014 and 2019, 1,163 facilities offering mental health treatment in Spanish shut down, a nearly 18 percent decline. Forty-four states saw a decline in Spanish-language services, while every state's Hispanic population grew. 

The national Spanish-speaking population increased by 4.5 percent, approximately 5.2 million people, over the course of the study. 

In the U.S, 13 percent of the population speak Spanish at home, making it the second most common language in the country. The U.S. has the second largest population of Spanish speakers globally, behind Mexico, Forbes reported in May 2021, and only 5.5 percent of therapists provide services in Spanish, according to data provided by the American Psychological Association Center for Workforce Studies.

Oklahoma, North Dakota, Ohio, Kentucky and Maine experienced some of the largest percentage decreases in Spanish-language mental health services in the U.S. in relation to their Spanish-speaking population.

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