NEW YORK — Suicide attempt rates among Latina high school students in New York have nearly doubled since 2007, El Diario/La Prensa is reporting. A recent study commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of 9,469 New York high school students found that nearly 15 percent, or one in six, Latina students attempted suicide one or more times in 2009. The rate for young African-American women was 10.2 percent and the rate for young white women was 6.2 percent. Nationally, the suicide attempt rate among Latinas is 11 percent.
The borough with the highest number of suicide attempts among Latinas was Brooklyn, where more than 21 percent reported having attempted to take their own life during the past year. In Staten Island, 16 percent reported having attempted suicide; in The Bronx, 15 percent; in Queens and Manhattan, it was about 12 percent.
According to Lily Tom, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Children, Youth and Families, excessive drinking, abusive relationships and depression are some of the factors that could make this population at risk.
New York City has launched LIFENET, a free 24-hour hotline and online service for at-risk Latinas.
Rosa Gil, president of New York’s Comunilife, an organization that helps suicidal Latinas, cited "cultural clash" divisions between immigrant mothers and their daughters as another factor.
"The mother comes from a culture emphasizing obedience, docility, dependency, and the daughter of a culture that values ââindependence, individualism, competition,” she said.