Recommended: For some Latinos, spiritual cleansing fills a mental health void

Grace Sesma does a limpia, a spiritual cleansing, with client Mario Ceballos during a curanderismo session at her home on Nov. 22, 2022. A growing emphasis on mental health care — some of it brought into renewed focus during the pandemic — has led more Americans to seek therapy or other support. But recent data show Latinos are less likely to look for help.

While the number of Black, Asian and white Americans seeking mental health treatment has increased in recent years, the rate for Latinos has barely changed, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

The reasons why are complicated, but a lack of cultural context contributes to the trend, Karen Garcia , a reporter with the L.A. Times’ Utility Journalism team, told me this week.

“If you don’t find someone that understands your cultural background, or maybe doesn’t even understand the words that you’re using … not being able to understand those nuances can stop a person from wanting to talk about how they feel,” she said.

That’s why some in the Latino and Indigenous communities have turned to curanderas , or traditional healers. Karen explored how these healers keep ancient traditions of spiritual cleansing […]


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