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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Mexican Americans And Mental Health
Program #

Health, Policy
Alejandro Saenz
Raymundo Rodriguez
May 26, 1977

Mexican Americans and Mental Health

In this interview, Raymundo Rodriguez, executive assistant for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health discusses his work as one of twenty members of the President’s Commission for Mental Health, as called by President Jimmy Carter. His research focus has been mental health issues affecting Chicano communities in Texas. The commission seeks to understand the mental health needs of Americans and strategize ways to address those needs. In terms of Chicano mental health, Rodriguez says that health care providers are currently grappling with how to be more responsive to the needs of the Spanish-speaking community, and he says more research needs to be done, especially concerning how Chicanos respond to mental health programs, such as those dealing with alcoholism.

Rodriguez explains that Mexican Americans are more reluctant to seek help for mental health issues because of the cost, the language barrier and natural support systems, such as those provided by the extended family. He explores the ways curanderos and health care agencies can cooperate around pediatric issues. He discusses the paradox that people in South Texas cross the border to seek mental health services and reproductive services from Spanish speaking doctors in Mexico. Rodriguez says that agencies in South Texas are developing programs that work with these natural support systems, such as the curandero, to treat the overall well being of the patient. Rodriguez concludes that the professions have been derelict in their service of the Spanish-speaking populations in the United States and that there is a serious need among all professions and agencies to train more Spanish speaking mental health care providers. He ends with the suggestion that Mexican American communities work together to address the issue of mental health, health in a collective, cooperative way.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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