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Latino Daily News

Tuesday March 15, 2011

Colorado Latino Teen Suicides Increase After the Recession Hits Home

There are very few that have not felt the pressures of the U.S.’s recession, but it seems that Latino teens in Colorado have been hit hard, as the number of attempted suicides by this group has spiked.

President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign (CCC) Chris Watney, said that “while economists proclaimed the end of the Great Recession more than a year ago, the end was nowhere in sight for many Colorado families.”

Of Colorado’s 1.2 million children, 30 percent are of Hispanic origin, and among them, 34 percent are of families with yearly incomes of less than $22,000. According to the CCC, there was a 17-percent increase in the number of poor Hispanic children between 2008 and 2009.

However, Watney says that low income and poverty are not the only factors to consider for the increase in the suicide rates. The CCC reports that the recession has affected the eating habits of young people as well. Lower income tends to go hand in hand with fewer healthy food choices, and those in low income neighborhoods have less of a chance to do physical activity.

According to the CCC, about 41 percent of minors in Hispanic and African American families are overweight or obese, compared to the national average of all children 27 percent.

Mixing the pressures of lower income and obesity, the suicide and attempted suicides rates have jumped in the last few years. The CCC also reported that the number of homeless youth in Colorado has increased.

“Because poverty negatively influences almost every other aspect of a child’s well-being, this has substantial implications for our state’s children and our future – challenges that as a result of the Great Recession have affected more Colorado children from a wide range of circumstances,” said Watney.