Latinos comprise one of the four primary multicultural populations in the United States by comprising close to ten percent of the total population. Latinos is a collective term for Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultural clusters majority of which are of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban descent. The concentration of Latinos is in the states of California, Texas, New York, and Florida. Latinos entered the United States legally to work as seasonal workers in farms and other jobs or illegally to seek better economic opportunities in the country. Eventually, they settled in urban communities. Due to their status as a minority groups and the status of entry into the country, these are underrepresented in the health care system and experiencing health care benefits to a lesser extent. (Lecca et al., 1998)
There are indigenous practices that pose challenges to health service providers. One, the preference for home treatment or traditional medicine could pose a challenge to health service providers since improper care could worsen the condition of the patient or there could be difficulties in determining the impact of traditional treatment. Another, close family ties could discourage Latinos from seeking health care services requiring long-term confinement. Still another, the concern for respect towards the health care provider could prevent Latino patients and their families from clarifying points that they do not understand and this could affect the continuity of and correct treatment. (Lecca et al., 1998)
Mental health care providers can implement culturally appropriate treatment strategies by having a basic understanding of the Latino culture, the cultural issues that could arise in health care provision, and the best practices in dealing with these issues. Learning the traditional medicine for mental health conditions could also ensure the preparedness of health care providers in dealing with patients who have been treated first by tradition medicine. By understanding the importance of family and close family ties, health care providers can solicit the help of the family in the treatment of the patient. Since respect could hamper clarifications, the health service provider could explain intervention in simple terms.
Lecca, P. J., Quervalu, I., Nunez, J. V., & Gonzales, H. F. (1998). Cultural competency in health, social and human services: Directions for the twenty-first century. New York: Garland Publisher.