Rising Latino Suicide Rates Worry Community Leaders

February 23, 2024

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

NBC News

Advocates are calling for increased efforts to address suicide among Hispanic and Latino communities. In the past decade, suicide rates have risen among Hispanic people in the U.S., even among young children. Experts say there are multiple factors associated with these increases, such as linguistic and cultural barriers in mental health care. “Being able to talk about painful things in a language that you are comfortable with is a really specific type of healing,” said Alejandra Vargas, a bilingual Spanish program coordinator for the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center in Los Angeles. “When we answer the calls in Spanish, you can hear that relief on the other end,” she said. Other factors that may place Hispanic and Latino communities at risk of suicide include the disproportionate impact of the pandemic, legal and financial issues, and cultural stigma against mental illness. Immigration status can also lead to stress, such as feelings of uncertainty and not belonging, as well as pressures on youth to support older family members. To help fill gaps in care, some leaders in Hispanic communities are setting up support groups and encouraging people to talk openly about their struggles.

Spark Extra! Access the 988 Lifeline’s Spanish-language services.