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Latino Daily News

Sunday April 3, 2011

Culture Shock & Stress Blamed for Nearly 15% of Attempted Latina Teen Suicides

It’s part of a growing national crisis: 11% of Hispanic girls across the country admitted a suicide attempt, especially in New York where the rate is higher.  Of especial concern is Brooklyn with a 21% Latina teen attempted suicide rate.

An official report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2009 that nearly 15% of Hispanic teens surveyed had attempted suicide the year before compared to 10% of all city high school girls. 

“They don’t have high rates of suicide in their mother countries, so what is happening here?” said Rosa Gil, who runs the program Life is Precious for suicidal Hispanic girls in Brooklyn and the Bronx. 

Others see the culture shock experienced from immigrant Latina teens trying to fit in and clashing with their mothers as the cause.  Many mothers, often running single parent homes, fight with their daughters as the teens are trying to fit in causing for a very stressful home situation.  There is a disconnect between mother and daughter and at times not enough supervision to see how the young teen is feeling. 

Experts fear a taboo against counseling in immigrant communities stops troubled teens and overwhelmed parents from getting help.