Surviving the emotional roller coaster of adolescence is a double and sometimes triple challenge for Latino/a youth. Culture and tradition complicate universal adolescent issues like anxiety, depression, peer pressure, and relationships. Youth in immigrant families often have difficulty navigating the different worlds of school and the streets, home and family. Family separations further compound the challenges for young people’s emotional and mental health. Where can these young people go for help? Do available counselors and mental health professionals understand cultural factors? Do they even literally speak the same language?
A panel of renowned experts and speakers explore the challenging ground of growing up Latino/a. Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola and Dr. Lina Mendez share key findings from a June 2012 study of the landscape of mental health services for Latinos in California. Dr. Luis Zayas shares findings from his 25 years of research on Latina suicide and family separation. Three young people speak about their personal experiences surmounting the myriad challenges of growing up, coping with (mis)diagnosis, foster care, identity, family, and themselves. Excerpted recordings from an exclusive January 2013 interview with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor explore how she dealt with her father’s death, her mother’s mourning, and became who she is today.