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Resources Specifically for Hispanic/Latinx Teen Mental Health

Explore resources, tips, and support tailored for Latinx teen mental health. Understand the challenges, celebrate cultural strengths, and find the path to wellbeing.

Even before high school, Maria was an anxious and shy child. She remembers gathering up her courage to begin speaking to a therapist about her problems – it took about a month until she really felt comfortable talking about her feelings, and waking up in the middle of the night with what she and her family thought were Asthma-related attacks.

Maria learned those moments were likely panic attacks from anxiety and depression, and she was given medication. While her mental health journey has been difficult, she sees the real impact of her work.

“You would not recognize the person from before I was seeking help and then the person I am now, and it really helped me grow into myself,” Maria said.

But, like many other Latinx youth, Maria’s story is not quite simple. When she was first given medication, her father immediately got rid of all of it.

“I remember him going on a whole like speech for like about an hour saying how I shouldn’t be that weak and that I should be stronger and I shouldn’t complain about things,” Maria said about her parents, who both had difficult childhoods before coming to the United States. “Their mentality was, what they went through, they came out fine, they didn’t have to talk to anyone, so why should I have to talk to anyone?”

That might be an unfortunate common response you might know all too well. Latino teens like you have consistently said you felt like it was harder to talk about mental health because of cultural stigmas or how seeking help is viewed in your community.

Two other students from Maria’s high school, Christopher and Karen, both said they had similar experiences. Both said it was looked at as weak, feminine or something was wrong with you if you sought help.

When we don’t feel comfortable talking about our feelings and emotions, they can accumulate and become more challenging to handle over time. And we already know that young people of color, including Latinx teens, often don’t seek mental health support as often as their white counterparts. Amplified by systemic issues, these experiences emphasize the need for understanding and advocacy.

State of Mental Health for Hispanic/Latinx Youth

While in-depth research about mental health specifically for Latinx youth isn’t as nuanced as it should be, organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been gathering essential data. Their recent findings provide some crucial perspectives.

Some of this might sound all too familiar but remember this: you’re not alone in your experiences or feelings.

– More than 18% of the Latinx community have reported having a mental health condition. Within that group, over 24% have been identified as having a serious mental illness.

– 40.3% of Hispanic individuals have experienced symptoms of depression, which is considerably higher than the 25.3% of white individuals who reported the same.

– Hispanic and multiracial students often felt more persistent sadness or hopelessness than their Asian, Black, and White peers.

– Hispanic students skipped school more often due to safety concerns compared to Asian, White, and multiracial students.

– Factors making it challenging for Latinos to access quality mental health care include language barriers, the lack of insurance, and not enough culturally tailored services or competent professionals.

If you’re a Latinx teen trying to find your way amidst these stats, don’t let them stop you from making positive changes. While the obstacles and disparities are real, there are also shifts toward improvement. Remember, your mental health journey is essential, and you can take positive steps towards better wellbeing today.

Tips to Boost Your Mental Wellbeing as a Hispanic/Latinx Teen

You have the power to nurture and improve your mental health. Take it step by step, and start today. Here are a few options to try out:

Choose You: Prioritize your wellbeing. Small acts can spark significant changes: sip on a chilled drink, take a few grounding breaths, or note down a moment that made you smile today. Grant yourself the time to stretch, give yourself a pep talk, or tidy up a little space in your room.

Recharge Routines: Recognize when you need a pause. Let your mind rest. Whether it’s meditating, having tech-free hours, or merely stretching your limbs between tasks, develop habits that prevent you from constantly feeling exhausted.

Leisure Moments: Life isn’t all about hard work. Amid school and other responsibilities, find moments of pure joy. Dive into that show everyone’s discussing, get lost in a book, challenge friends to the latest online game, try mastering that popular dance, or simply enjoy a warm bath or a peaceful walk.

Tap into Your Roots: Celebrate the beauty and richness of your culture. Prepare a cherished family recipe, attend local cultural events, explore traditional attires, or create art that reflects your heritage. Search for videos of Latinx individuals discussing mental health; understanding the link between your cultural identity and wellbeing is crucial.

Seek Support: There’s strength in being understood. It might be a cousin who always gets you, an aunt or teacher who’s always there to listen, or a close friend from school – rely reach out to them. If you’re looking for more guidance, there are many groups specifically designed to support Latinx youth, ready to help with the unique challenges you might face.

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Additional Resources and Support for Latinx Teens

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): This organization provides several resources for English and Spanish-speaking individuals, including some personal blog posts about Latinx identity and depression.

Check out their three-part video series Compartiendo Esperanza. It serves as a good guide and discussion about mental wellness in the Hispanic/Latinx community and how it can improve through dialogue, telling stories and a guided discussion.

The Steve Fund: A hub for mental health tips for teens of color. They team up with experts and youth to boost mental wellbeing, understanding and support. Dive into their resources: watch videos of other teens discussing their mental health, listen to podcasts, and explore more tools.

We want to highlight an interactive session the Steve Fund helped with on YouTube called Girls Rising! The video focuses on mental health as a priority for Latina girls and is led by a well-known and respected Latina trauma therapist who breaks down and talks about the specific language and barriers used around mental health in the Latinx community as well as tips, empowering tools and interactive activities to help center you.

Latinxtherapy: This site has a wealth of resources specifically for you, including a bilingual podcast focused on helping move past mental health myths in the Latinx community and providing self-care tips. It also has a wealth of content, including resources and YouTube channels that focus on mental health and are available in English and Spanish.

Mental Health Is Health: This MTV initiative emphasizes that mental wellbeing is as crucial as physical health. The campaign encourages open discussions about mental health, connects individuals to vital resources, and inspires proactive mental health actions.

They have an extremely helpful starting point for teens like you. Click here and scroll down and start by picking from a feeling or experience you are going through and get helpful tailored tips. We also really like their section on how to be there for a friend in need and their Mental Health 101 page.

Disclaimer: This website offers general information and is not a substitute for professional advice. We are not clinicians or trained professionals; this information should not replace seeking help from a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare provider for personalized guidance.