SAMHSA: Using Cuento to Support the Behavioral Health Needs of Hispanic/Latinos
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The National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC contributed to a SAMHSA blog post about cuento, or storytelling, to support the behavioral health needs of Hispanic and Latino populations!
Many Latinos use cuento to answer questions in a narrative form. Storytelling preserves a collective memory and shares historical knowledge. Through cuento, Latinos can find healing through the intersections of their culture and personal stories. Storytelling allows people to learn about, share, and better understand each other’s culture. When leveraged correctly, storytelling is beneficial to behavioral health wellbeing, treatment, and recovery. Digital storytelling, or the use of images to describe experience, has been effective for several diverse communities, including peers in recovery, Indigenous youth, and immigrant/refugee community members. In Latinas, fotonovelas, or images of soap opera narratives, have been effective as a health education tool to reduce stigma related to accessing treatment. For more culturally appropriate strategies, providers should consider integrating storytelling into all aspects of care for Latinos.