Latino residents of New Jersey who need mental health services face a range of challenges, including language barriers, lack of access to providers and cultural stigma over seeking help. Now, lawmakers in Washington say they can address many of these issues with a bill introduced in late July that aims to meet the diverse cultural and language needs of various Hispanic and Latino populations and increase awareness of the symptoms of mental illnesses. What’s more, it  takes into account differences in subgroups, such as gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation and race or ethnicity.

The move by legislators, including U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ), arrives as the Latino population in the United States grew from 50.5 million people in 2010 to 62.1 million in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Slightly more than half, 51.1%, of the total U.S. population growth between 2010 and 2020 came from growth in that population. “I applaud the efforts of Sen. Menendez in recognizing the behavioral health disparities facing Latino communities across the country and here in New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex), a member of the New Jersey Legislative Latino Caucus, in a statement. To read the full story.