Latinx Experiences of Depression and Factors

Adolescents from the Latinx population don’t have the same experiences as White American adolescents in the United States. There are situations that Latinx adolescents experience that may they lead them to show depressive symptoms that white adolescents wouldn’t go through. Treatment can also look different for Latinx adolescents than for other adolescents. Studies have also shown that Hispanic youth show significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than Non-Hispanic white adolescents.

Stressors Found in Latinx Youth:

    • Parent-child conflict is a stressor that can lead to depression 
    • This is because Latinos as a whole value family cohesiveness 
    • This may also lead to Latinx youth to internalize their feeling as well not just depressive feelings 
  • Low-economic status is also another stressor that can lead to depression in Latinx youth 
    • This stressor is not only found in Latinx youth but also in other ethnic groups 
  • Economic stress has also been found to be a stressor that may lead Latinx youth to be depressed 
    • This is because Latinx families are more likely to live in poverty than others
  • Discrimination is another big stressor in Latinx youth
  • Pressure Latino youth may feel to maintain the cultural values and language associated with their culture of origin may also lead to depression 
    • As Latinx youth navigate different cultural contexts, they need to balance the incorporation of new cultural values and attitudes with the maintenance of those values associated with their cultures of origin 
    • The stress that results from having to balance different cultural contexts, experiences with discrimination and prejudice, and family conflict due to differential acculturation leads to greater depressive symptoms as the adolescent’s coping skills are overwhelmed by these experiences
  • Immigration is a stressor that can be found in Latinx youth
    • Traumatic events, discrimination, and docu mentation status can lead to depressive symptoms

Five Things You Can Do In Helping Improve Depression for the Latinx Community 

1) Remove the language barrier

  • Communication is very important when diagnosing mental disorder 
  • You need to be able to understand how a patient is feeling and what they are saying so you can help them in the right way and diagnose them properly
  • You will either need a interpreter or a psychiatrist who speaks the native language and can understand the dialect

2) Work with primary care physicians (PCPs)

  • This is very important due to the fact that Latinos are more likely to approach a PCP rather than a psychologist
  • Latinos won’t necessarily mention that they are having a panic attack for example but will describe such symptoms so directing them to the right place is very crucial

3) Encourage family involvement

  • Because Latinos have such strong family networks this support may alleviate the stigma of a mental disorder and may also help patients be able to address the issue
  • Sharing this kind of information with the family increases understanding of the disease and helps the family support the patient

4) Offer sensitive, culturally competent treatment

  • Depression is highly stigmatized 
  • Depression is seen as merely being nervous or as they call it “nervios” 
  • To them it is also seen as something that doesn’t require medication 
  • Being aware of how Latinos view it is very important in how you treat the patient

5) Educate about depression

  • The lack of information on depression is also what fuels the stigma 
  • Simply discussing about it and giving them information and educating them is best to eradicate this stigma 
  • This task is very hard to overcome but the more people show awareness for it the better
Stein, G. L., Gonzalez, L. M., & Huq, N. (2012, April 15). Cultural Stressors and the Hopelessness Model of Depressive Symptoms in Latino Adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 
Campbell, G. (2017, November 21). Overcoming Mental Health Stigma in the Latino Community. Consult QD.