The Link Between Hustle Mentality and Mental Illness

Hustle mentality culture BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of ncmag.co

While we’ve all heard of the burden of Jewish guilt, many of us aren’t aware that Latino burnout is also a real and dangerous thing affecting our community’s mental health. The unfortunate birth of hustle culture, that self-activated pressure of skipping vacations, checking our inboxes constantly, eating poorly on the run, and overloading ourselves with impossible deadlines and commitment is on the rise. What’s worse, research shows that Latinos are less likely than non-Latinos to seek mental health care.

Hustle culture is alive and (un)well in the United States. Another ingredient to add to this recipe for disaster is the suffocating family pressures in Latin American cultures that fuel this anxious feeling even more. It causes us to think that working ourselves down to the bone is a good thing, while putting our own peace of mind first is bad.

According to a report in USA Today, Latinos face unique mental health issues compared to the rest of the country’s population. The National Alliance on Mental Illness found that they do tend to struggle with common mental health disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcoholism at an average rate, but are at higher risk for severe mental health problems, in part because of the poor quality of treatment they tend to receive. But sadly, roughly 36% of Latinos with depression receive mental health care instead of 60% of non-Latino whites.

What’s fueling this condition? Due to an inherent fear of appearing selfish or letting one’s family down, children of immigrants often combat an irrational pressure to be seen as superheroes. This is particularly true when they are aware of their immigrant families’ sacrifices to get them where they are today. 

This often leads them down the winding road to becoming a member of the hustle culture, one in which, as people of color, they have to work double or triple the pace in comparison to their white counterparts, who often glamorize the perversity of the hustle, just like cigarette and alcohol advertisements one did.

The sad truth is that workers of color still have to double-time that hustle to get ahead in the United States due to the income inequality. They also feel even more obligated to overachieve since society has often depicted people of color as lazier or less intelligent than whites. These demands of work and family will persist in a capitalistic society, but your health and personal time should be prioritized. 

Don’t do the Hustle, folks!

If you read interviews with most Latino entrepreneurs, they all warn you about the danger of burning the candle at both ends. When entrepreneur Patty Delgado, founder of the accessories and apparel line, Hija de tu Madre, was asked by NBC News what’s one thing you wish you knew when you started out? She replied, “I wish I would have allowed myself to take more breaks. Burnout is real!” 

Having done the hustle all their lives, immigrants have always been the original entrepreneurs. And the good news is that according to Inc. research, Latino founders have emerged as the fastest-growing demographic among all U.S. entrepreneurs – growing from 6.5 percent of all entrepreneurs in 2001 to 15 percent as of 2019.

Despite what the rest of the prejudiced society may think, we all know that the Latinx community works hard. They also know how to party hard. So let’s find the right and healthy balance of the two going forward and follow Delgado’s advice written all over her line: Yo hago lo que me da la gana.