Latina Suicide Crisis

Statistics show Hispanic girls have one of the highest rates of suicide among teens in the US.

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  1. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one out of every seven Latina teens has attempted suicide. It also says significantly more Hispanic females in high school reported attempting suicide compared to girls of other ethnicities.
  2. Experts say New York City has the highest Latina teenage suicide rate in the entire US:
  3. Researchers point to a number of factors that account for higher rates of suicide attempts and acts of suicide among Latina teenagers. One study co-authored by a leading researcher on the subject, Luis H. Zayas, found that a strained relationship between girls and their mothers was often an issue. Conversely, Zayas also found that girls who have healthier relationships with their mothers are less prone to depression:
  4. We also found that girls who reported having more mutuality with their mothers had less internalizing behaviors, specifically less withdrawn-depressive behaviors, anxious-depressive behaviors, and somatic complaints. We also found that the withdrawn-depressive behaviors were significantly related to suicide attempts, mediating the relationship between mutuality and suicide attempts.
  5. Others point to a significant amount of pressure girls face at home with their Spanish-speaking parents.
  6. In the video below, YouTube user Yaritzaenc13 describes her experiences as a child of Hispanic immigrants.
  7. In an opinion piece, writer Erika Sanchez elaborates on the culture gaps present in the relationships between first-generation Latinas and their immigrant mothers. 
  8. I remember, for instance, that I was punished for shaving my legs at 13 even though I only did it to avoid the ridicule of my classmates. I knew that these kinds of rules had traveled from my mother’s hometown in rural Mexico and that she did not understand how repressive they were in this culture and era, but it was still incredibly frustrating.
  9. In schools, a lack of Spanish-speaking counselors has been linked to an adverse environment for Latino students.
  10. When seeking help for suicidal thoughts, clinical psychologist Dr. Jane Delagado points out that while social stigmas about mental health in the Hispanic community presents a barrier: "The issue of stigma, while a reality for all people, has been overplayed. More immediate barriers are the lack of bilingual and bicultural mental health professionals..."
  11. In this video, Dr. Soad Michelsen talks about the misperception and denial of suicide in the Latino community. 
  12. Teen Latinas and Suicide - Part 4
  13. In order to help Hispanic youth cope with feelings of depression, a number have programs have been created by different groups. 
  14. The Latina A.R.M.Y (Accomplished Role-Models Motivating Young Latinas) is an organisation tailored to Latinas throughout the United States to provide positive influences in the lives of Hispanic girls who need them. 
  15. Latina A.R.M.Y. Introductory video
  16. Based in Los Angeles, California, Las Fotos Project encourages Latina self-expression through photographs.
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