What kind of support do depressed Adolescents of Color need? 

Parents play a crucial role in helping Adolescents of Color develop strong positive racial/ethnic identities resulting in better mental health. 

  • Individuals can encounter difficulties during disrupting events in their life and gain a feeling of being different from others 
  • Parents should discuss racial and ethnic identity with their children to help strengthen mental health
  • Remember that HOW you engage with racial socialization matters, because when you describe your experiences of discrimination, it can have adverse effects on the adolescent’s mental health. 
  • Have supportive conversations about how to react in the face of biases and emotional arousal in tense situations. 
  • Parents should seek out positive cultural experiences to share with their adolescents together or within the culture’s community.
    • For example, A Latinx adolescent would benefit from having a gathering with extended family that celebrates cultural food, music, and dance.

Schools and Communities can contribute to improving symptoms of Depression through Programs designed to combat discrimination encourage involvement.

  • Parents should help their adolescent have frequent contact with peers of the same race or ethnicity to strengthen positive feelings about their ethnic identity
    • Positive mental health in adolescents of color is associated with individuals who have strong ethnic identity

Interventions and Solutions

Parents can advocate for their child’s school to incorporate programs that positively impact adolescents and reduce the symptoms of depression.

  • Find programs that mix regular physical activity with mental health education 
  • Latino families should look for community based cultural interventions 
  • Find schools that implement bullying prevention programs 
    • These have the capability to decrease bullying up to 25%
  • Health care providers, teachers, and program leaders should ensure that mental health care is sensitive to issues that are among the Latinx community
    • Issues may include 
      • Bullying
      • Discrimination 
      • Immigration-related factors 
  • Providers should diversify the mental health workforce 
    • Culturally oriented training 
    • Interpreters
  • Places like schools and non-profit programs need to include culturally relevant mental health programs

Parents should look for life skills programs in schools, or advocate for them to be started

    • Mental health programs have significantly increased students’ self-esteem and coping
    • Critical thinking and creative thinking, decision making and problem solving, communication skills and interpersonal relations, coping with emotions and stress, and self-awareness and empathy should be the focuses of these programs
  • It is important that the materials are provided in the local language (Could be Spanish for Latinx communities)
  • Parents should check with child’s school to take full advantage of mental health resources no matter how many or few
    • Schools with higher mental health engagement had more students using mental health services
  • Parents should be actively involved to ensure that student mental health is not overlooked due to administration time or money
  • Mindfulness-based interventions were found effective in showing greater improvements in dispositional mindfulness, perceived stress, emotion regulation, and family social support compared to a control condition between Latinx parents and their adolescent children
Green, J. G., McLaughlin, K. A., Alegría, M., Costello, E. J., Gruber, M. J., Hoagwood, K., Leaf, P. J., Olin, S., Sampson, N. A., & Kessler, R. C. (2013). School mental health resources and adolescent mental health service use. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(5), 501–510.
Li, M.J., Hardy, J., Calanche, L. et al. Initial Efficacy of a Community-Derived Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Latinx Parents and their Children. J Immigrant Minority Health (2021).
Lyon, A. R., & Bruns, E. J. (2019). From evidence to impact: Joining our best school mental health practices with our best implementation strategies. School mental health, 11(1), 106–114.
Sansom, W. (2017, September 12). Research: Latino children more Depressed, less likely to get 
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Srikala, B., & Kishore, K. K. (2010). Empowering adolescents with life skills education in schools – School mental health program: Does it work?. Indian journal of psychiatry, 52(4), 344–349.
Steinberg, L.D. (2020). Adolescence. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.