Mental Health Services for Latino Youth: Bridging Culture and Evidence

Because one in four Americans under the age of 18 is Latino, UnidosUS frames the current lack of widespread services as a national concern that potentially can be reformed through funded research and policy. The report recommends reaching Latino youths by using tactics such as hiring bilingual, culturally competent practitioners and incorporating cultural beliefs into evidence-based practices to develop appropriate mental health services.

The threat or reality of growing violence and aggression toward young people of color has been documented in alarming reports of increased bullying and hate incidents. In a study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in December 2016, 2,500 educators described specific incidents of bigotry and harassment following the election, and a full 80% reported heightened anxiety on the part of marginalized students such as youth of color, LGBTQ youth, and immigrant students.

Investing in high-quality, accessible mental health services for these youth and their families is critical. Yet existing mental health interventions for these youth are often either insufficient or are disconnected from the unique needs and experiences of Latino families and communities, or both.

This report describes the mental health landscape for Latino youth, including risk factors, existing treatments, and the ongoing debate about strategies for treating Latino youth and how programs should be evaluated.

Population of Focus: Latino Youth, Hispanic Youth

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Date: 2017