Health

Suicide prevention week: finding the right therapist is key to mental health wellness

Foreign born Hispanics, Latinos at risk

Suicide is the 12th leading cause of deaths in Connecticut and it’s the second leading cause of death for those ages 15 to 34.

For those 35 to 54 years old, it is the fourth leading cause of death in the state, according to data from afsp.org. The Connecticut Department of Public Health(DPH) found that in 2016 there were 388 suicides in the state, according to preliminary data. Of those, 70 percent were male. Only five percent were Hispanic.

During National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 8-14), several state organizations are looking to spread information about suicide signs and prevention.

According to DPH, the top three risk factors among all age groups are depressed mood, substance abuse disorder, and history of treatment for mental illness.

According to experts, the national suicide rate among Hispanics is one-third that of non-Hispanic whites.

The relatively low rate of suicide among Latinos is something experts attribute to strong family and community support systems, according to a 2018 article by khn.org. Experts said this provides a degree of protection.

However, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that when immigrant families assimilate and ties to Latino culture fray, the protective effects also fray.  Researchers who analyzed suicidal thoughts and attempts also found that those inclinations increased the more years Latinos spent in the United States and as they lost their fluency in Spanish and connections to Latino social networks and identity.


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Latino youth also appeared more vulnerable to suicide attempts than their white counterparts. In 2017, 8.2 percent of Hispanic high school students attempted suicide compared with 6.1 percent of whites and 9.8 percent of blacks, according to federal data.

But the higher rate of teen suicide attempts did not result in corresponding increases in suicide deaths among Latinos, but the reasons are unclear, Luis Zayas, author of the book “Latinas Attempting Suicide: When Cultures, Families, and Daughters Collide” and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told khn.org.

Experts recommend not to wait to get the help you need. Betterhelp is a subscription-based app connecting persons who are struggling with licensed therapists that can chat via text or video. There are plans for teens, students, and even couples therapy. 

UConn will hold its suicide prevention week, Listen Louder, from Sept. 22-28. The week’s events will include a Field of Memories on the Student Union entrance/lawn with 1,100 flags representing college student suicide deaths. UConn Active Minds will have information about mental health services and suicide prevention.

In Connecticut, people who feel suicidal or are thinking of suicide, can get help by dialing 2-1-1 and then pressing 1 or 1-800-203-1234, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Betterhelp is a sponsor of CTLN’s health segment

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