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Glenn Llopis

CEO and Founder, Center for Hispanic Leadership

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Being Courageous About Your Health Inspires Other Hispanics to do the Same

05/13/2020 06:00AM | 9872 views

When it comes to accessing care more than one-fourth of Hispanic adults don’t have a place where they usually go when they’re sick or need advice about their health.

Four out of five get health information from alternative sources like TV and radio.

Yet diverse populations are more likely than non-diverse to suffer chronic disease and premature death. But it’s more complex than that – the data suggests a nuance that can’t be explained simply by putting people in boxes without taking into account their individuality.

The reality is that Latinos do not practice preventive care.  We’d rather wait to get sick before we act on it.  In many cases, we still ignore the symptoms until the something serious is at stake.  

Why is this? While many factors are a play, here is one significant reality: 

We have difficulty sharing our vulnerabilities and insecurities when it comes to our health.  We tend to hold-on to our personal aspects, especially if it’s not required to share.  This stems from our constant struggles between assimilation and authenticity.  

Unfortunately, these struggles have made it difficult for Latinos to access care but equally challenging for Latinos to share their healthcare stories and concerns.

My friend and CNN correspondent Nick Valencia shared what many Hispanic wouldn’t have the courage to do – his chronic condition.  When recently interviewed on CNN, he revealed the following:

"Last night, I revealed some deeply personal news. In January, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, depression, and post traumatic stress.
I have been quietly suffering through it with my family and best friends.
The last few months have been great, and then the coronavirus happened and it threw me into a tailspin.
During a CNN segment highlighting the economic disparities and social inequalities that has lead to an alarming impact on Latinos, I felt like I needed to speak my truth.
This pandemic has impacted people everywhere, and in my opinion it’s mental health that is the great equalizer.
Even those who don’t have diagnosed struggles like me are dealing with mental health issues.
Some people, especially on social media where everything is the best version of yourself, may think I am weak or looking for attention.
When in fact I just wanted to let people know they’re not alone.
I got into journalism to help people.
I hope last night my words helped someone know they are not alone."

I hope this story gives you the courage to share your own.  Whether it’s a story about your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and/or others in your extended families. Don’t hide. Everyone already knows that Hispanics are susceptible to chronic diseases states.

The more we hold back, the less influence we have to propel new research investments in the healthcare industry.  The more we struggle in telling the truth – the more we hold others back from telling their truth.

Here are mine truths:

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