APA launches website hosting resources in Spanish for patients and psychiatrists

The APA recently launched LaSaludMental.org, a website hosting information and resources in Spanish about mental and substance use disorders that are culturally informed and evidence-based.

The new site offers resources on five of the most frequently searched for conditions related to mental health: depression, domestic violence, stigma, substance use disorders and suicide. LaSaludMental.org will also house information about other mental illnesses over time.

“The impetus behind this effort was to address the dire need for reliable, evidence-based information on mental health and substance use disorders available in Spanish,” said APA President Rebecca Brendel, MD, JD. “Our goal was not simply to translate the information we already had in English into Spanish, but rather to collaborate with our member psychiatrists who are part of the Spanish-speaking community in the United States to develop culturally relevant information and resources competent, relevant and easily understood by a large part of the Hispanic population and the Latino community.

Content hosted on LaSaludMental.org includes informative texts, quizzes, expert Q&As in print and video format, infographics, printables, animated explainer videos, and more. Although geared towards a Spanish-speaking audience, the website offers content in both Spanish and English. The site will be updated with new content on an ongoing basis.

Hector Cólon-Rivera, MD, says LaSaludMental.org is a “work in progress.” He hopes APA communications will also include resources in other languages ​​over time.

LaSaludMental.org is promoted as part of the APA Foundation’s “Mentally Healthy Nation” national public service announcement campaign. The Mentally Healthy Nation campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the mental health crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic, includes six public service announcements in English and Spanish. The Spanish versions direct listeners to LaSaludMental.org.

The site and its content were developed by the APA and its Spanish-Language Communications Task Force, comprised of Hispanic and Latino APA member psychiatrists, most of whom are native Spanish speakers. The working group, which will continue to guide content development for the website, is co-chaired by Hector Cólon-Rivera, MD, and Amalia Londoño Tobón, MD

Photo: Amalia Londoño Tobon, MD

Amalia Londoño Tobón, MD, says psychiatrists can use content from LaSaludMental.org to learn more about mental health issues in the Hispanic community and how to discuss these issues with their patients.

“This is the first time in APA’s nearly 180 years of existence that it has worked in a language other than English,” Cólon-Rivera said in an interview with Psychiatric News. Calling the new website a “work in progress,” Cólon-Rivera said, “We hope this is just the beginning and we would like to expand to other languages ​​as well.” He noted that the task force hopes to release a doctor locator to help individuals find psychiatrists in their area.

Cólon-Rivera and Londoño Tobón said the large gap between the number of Spanish-speaking Americans and the availability of Spanish-language mental health professionals and services makes LaSaludMental.org invaluable for practitioners and patients alike.

“Although Hispanics make up about 20 percent of the U.S. population, there are very few culturally appropriate Spanish mental health resources available to Hispanic families,” Londoño Tobón said. Psychiatric News. “The content on LaSaludMental.org was developed by Hispanic APA members with APA support to address this unresolved need to better serve our growing Hispanic community. We know that many Hispanic people do not have access to mental health care and information. It is extremely important to develop and have resources that facilitate access to professional information for our community.

She added: “Psychiatrists and mental health professionals should encourage patients to informally browse the page or search for specific content related to concerns they may have, such as the stigma of mental illness, the substance use and substance use disorders, domestic violence and suicide, among others. Spanish-speaking psychiatrists can also use this content to learn more about mental health issues in the Hispanic community and how to discuss these topics with their patients.

Other members of the task force are Drs. Sebastian Aceuedo, Ruby Castilla-Puentes, Whitney Cordoba-Crueso, Ludmila De Faria, Tatiana Falcone, Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, Pamela Montano Arteaga, Bernardo Ng, Oscar Perez, Diego Regalado, Ricardo Restrepo, Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, Marta Rondon, Gabrielle Shapiro and Victoria Valdez. ■