NYC- According to Sharon Carpinello, New York City Mental Health Commissioner, Latinas think about and actually attempt suicide at twice the rate of African-American and White young women.
46% of young high school Latinas admit to feelings of depression and 1 out of 4 admit to attempting suicide.
These latest numbers were presented by Carpinello at a recent meeting of the Mental Health Committee of the New York State Assembly. Especially at risk, are children of immigrants who struggle to aculturate themselves to their new surroundings and lifestyle.
A congressional bill was introduced in 2000 calling for more funding to look at the issue, but it was an insufficient response to the scale of this crisis. Now, a study by the National Institute for Mental Health is underway to look at the reasons for this high rate. In the meantime, our teenagers suffer in silence and in the failure of an inadequate response.
Aside from state government, the NYC Council needs to do its part to raise public awareness about this crisis. There are at least 117,000 Latinas between the ages of 13 and 19 in our city, according to the U.S. Census; 19,000 of them have, or will, attempt to kill themselves.