A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 10.5% of Latina adolescents aged 10–24 years in the U.S. have attempted suicide in the past year, compared to 7.3% of white females, 5.8% of Latinos, and 4.6% white male teens. A cultural upbringing that highly stigmatizes mental health issues, paired with generational divides between first-generation girls and immigrant parents, is believed to be part of the cause of this severe issue, according to Dr. Luis Zayas, a researcher on Latina suicide trends since 1991. Latinas have been historically vulnerable to mental health struggles, and only 20% of them actually talk to a doctor about their troubles. Factoring into this is the lack of diversity and cultural competence in the mental health workforce, which is predominantly white. Addressing cultural and societal stigmas can help improve these trends. Normalizing mental health struggles and focusing on suicide prevention is needed now more than ever for Latinas in the United States.
Have you ever had an open conversation about mental health with your family or your friends?
The Latinx community faces very specific struggles when it comes to speaking about mental health. You can find out more about it here. If you or someone you know is currently in a crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 74174.
If you want to get involved in suicide prevention advocacy work, you can check out the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and find ways to take action.