Young Hispanic Women More Likely Than Other Girls To Attempt Suicide
The Washington Post on Tuesday examined the issue of suicide among young Hispanic women. According to the Post, Hispanic women ages 12 to 17 are the largest minority group of girls in the U.S., and they are more likely than girls of any other racial or ethnic group in that age range to attempt suicide. CDC research indicates 25% of Hispanic girls have thought about suicide and 15% of them have attempted suicide, compared with 10% of black and white girls.
Luis Zayas -- a psychologist and social work professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. -- said that if Hispanic girls who have attempted suicide were living in the countries where they or their parents were born, they might have stronger ties to relatives, communities and customs. However, in the U.S., they "struggle with feelings of powerlessness and frustration, torn between an American popular culture that encourages them to be sexy and assertive, and family expectations that they be modest and submissive," the Post reports.
Many young Hispanic women do not seek help, mostly because they are suspicious of mental health services or feel their problems should be kept within their families, the Post reports. Carolina Hausman, a social worker who assists Zayas, suggested that schools and neighborhoods need preventive mental health services aimed at Hispanics.
Zayas said, "Crossing the border can be hazardous to Latinas' health. Until we understand the cultural conflict, we will not be able to prevent this" (Sessions Stepp, Washington Post, 1/22).