During May, we observe Mental Health Awareness Month. At Hispanicize, we shine a light on the Latino community and its most well-known personalities, their battles against mental health issues, and how these illnesses do not distinguish race, gender, or economic status.
Among all the entertainment personalities within the Latino community, Ricky Martin has been a pioneer in bringing Latin pop to all corners of the world. Still, his fame and success have also taken a toll on his mental health.
Ricky Martin and his struggle with depression
Ricky Martin, whose birth name is Enrique Martin Morales, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Martin began his artistic career at an early age when he was part of the children’s group Menudo as their lead singer, until 1991 when he launched his solo career.
Martin’s fame and recognition came in 1999 when he released his English debut album, “Ricky Martin,” which included the song ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ that would take him to the top of the Hot 100 Billboard became one of the best-selling songs in history. The success Martin achieved with his music career was undeniable. Still, the singer confessed in an interview on Apple’s Music Radio in 2020 that he was silently battling depression because of not being able to be himself openly in front of the world and admitted he was in pain constantly.
In that interview, Martin confessed that keeping his homosexuality hidden was the main reason he could not fully enjoy himself. His performances were an escape from the pain and sadness of being “in the closet.” It was not until November 2, 2010, when he released his autobiography, that his homosexuality was made public.
Martin’s courage to go public with his sexual orientation, after being pigeonholed for years as one of the sexiest men in the world, came from a desire to live a happy life and be a representative and ally for the LGBTQ+ community. For Martin, it is essential to offer the necessary support and be a role model for all those young people experiencing the same fear as he is in going public with their sexual orientation.
Depression in the Latino LGBTQ+ Community
The LGBTQ+ community, especially those who are also part of the Latino community, are the people who show the highest rates of depression, according to a study conducted by the California Institute of Integral Studies. These high rates are directly linked to the discrimination and rejection these groups suffer because of their social orientation and culture.
The stigmas, violence, and even the shame that LGBTQ+ people may feel, make them more vulnerable to suffering depression and, in many cases, not being appropriately treated and escalate to more serious things like suicide.