Category — suicide

Difficulties of Hispanic Teen Life

It doesn’t surprise me that suicide is the third leading cause of death in young Latinas, especially first generation teenagers. Latinas don’t have it easy in any way but I think there’s a lot to do as a culture and community to help them.

Some of the reasons for suicide among Latinas might be that first and second generation Latinas have totally different experiences than their parents who immigrated to the United States.  On the one hand, young Latinas face peer pressure to fit-in at school, and on the other hand, they face family pressure to honor their heritage. In some cases, this leads to identity crisis and internal conflict.

A notable characteristic about Hispanic culture that might be an influential factor is that it is a collective culture as opposed to individualistic. Latinas are taught to take care of family, friends, community, church, acquaintances and everything in between before themselves. Therefore, not having the time or not feeling allowed to take care of themselves can lead to an undiagnosed depression that can lead to terrible outcomes.

On this note, it doesn’t help that mental health is taboo in the Hispanic culture and it is rare that teenagers seek psychological help on their own or even with support from their families.  Latinas also tend to keep problems to themselves, and considering that there’s a lack of Latino psychologists that speak the language, know the culture, and can address Latinas’ unique issues, the problem just gets bigger.

There’s room to help Latinas open up and listen, really listen when they are struggling.  Teach them to take care of themselves, talk about problems, and mentor them to find their true happy self.

July 25, 2010   8 Comments