Tuesday, April 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Report, panel look at mental health challenges among young Latinos

Nikko Gabriel Reynoso, right, speaks along with Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, left, Nicole Plata and Maria Hinojosa at the "Growing Up Latino and Surviving to 25" panel Tuesday at the UC Davis Community Center. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | April 25, 2013 |

A safe and comfortable home life, caring and involved parents, good schools and health care — these are the elements of a happy childhood.

But even when all life’s circumstances are optimal, adolescence can still be an emotional roller coaster featuring peer pressure, relationship issues, anxiety and more.

Consider, then, the added burdens facing Latino youth.

When researchers at the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD) did, they found racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States fare far worse than their white counterparts across a range of health indicators, and mental health was no exception.

In fact, Latinos face unique issues when it comes to mental health.

There are often pressures to assimilate, stress from poverty and anxiety over immigration status, all of which, “when left unaddressed and unresolved, can lead to mental health problems,” the report issued last summer said.

Further, “the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services … compounded by mental health stigma, keeps many Latinos with mental illness from seeking services.”

There is a culture of silence when it comes to mental health in the Latino community, according to Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, a UC Davis professor of clinical internal medicine and founding director of CRHD.

But that can be changed.

On Tuesday, Aguilar-Gaxiola and CRHD colleague Dr. Lina Mendez were part of a panel discussion at UC Davis titled “Growing up Latino and Surviving to 25.”

The discussion, which drew more than 150 people and was moderated by NPR host Maria Hinojosa, also featured three 20-something Latinos who shared their own stories of growing up — and surviving — adolescence in California.

Nikko Gabriel Reynoso, now a third-year UCD student, grew up on San Jose’s east side, in a family that had very little.

“We were kind of poor,” he said. “Sometimes we didn’t have food or would be without a place to live.”

Family members were frequently separated from one another and Reynoso himself suffered both physical and sexual abuse.

“For years I had anxiety and depression,” he said.

Adding to the difficulty of his childhood was the fact that he was transgender, in a very religious family.

“Growing up was very hard,” he said.

Mendez said Reynoso’s story echoed those she’s heard around the state, of Latino LGBT kids going through mental health challenges without many places to turn for help. Whether it’s the stigma of seeing a therapist or simply an inability to pay for one or find one in a rural area, barriers to mental health care are a big issue. The CRHD report found that “limited or no access to mental health services was a significant factor affecting the mental health of the Latino community.”

Nicole Plata is an example of that. Plata, who also grew up in the Bay Area, was diagnosed with depression at the age of 14.

“But I didn’t know what to do with that,” she recalled.

Nobody talked about those things, she said, so she didn’t even know at the time that her father had suffered from depression and other family members had as well. Like Reynoso’s childhood, Plata’s, too, was marked by physical abuse and family crisis.

Claudia Mendez, meanwhile, ended up in foster care by the age of 16 because of abuse at the hands of her mother, a refugee from the civil wars in El Salvador who suffered mental health issues of her own.

“Even though she had therapy, I don’t think she realized she was abusive,” said Mendez, now a student at San Francisco State University.

Aguilar-Gaxiola commended the three young panelists for their openness, saying “you are very brave to share such intimate experiences. It’s going to open doors (on) the cultural silence.”

Rick Gonzales hopes it will do more than that.

Gonzales, a longtime Davis resident and former teacher, told the young panelists, “you are the lucky ones.”

“You made the transition, and I know some kids who never will,” he said.

Gonzales, well-known for his work with the Mexican American Concilio of Yolo County — which provides scholarships for Latino youth to go to college — urged them to take their messages of survival into area schools.

“We need the role models because our kids are just not making it,” he said. “You are survivors, but there are a lot of non-survivors out there.”

To ensure there are more survivors, the CRHD report made a number of recommendations, including increasing school-based mental health programs in order to better reach children; increasing collaboration between schools and social services agencies; using mainstream and Latino media to raise mental health awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental health disorders; and developing a mental health workforce that can overcome language and culture barriers.

Learn more at http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/crhd.

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Teens embrace public art through Pence Gallery program

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Robotics team members reflect on their big win

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: A1

    City’s eco-classes will explore water, wildlife, pests, composting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Many hands make light work

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Yolo Basin Foundation celebrates 25 years

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis police make vehicle theft arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Corinthian Colleges closes all 28 remaining campuses

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Baltimore smolders after violent night

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Yolo County Bar Association honors Magna Carta, probation chief

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Sierra Club leaders will meet April 30

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Capay Organic hosts Cinco de Mayo party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Chicken manure compost class planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Party celebrates release of Lescroart’s new novel

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Curious about calculus? Try Barcellos’ new book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Master Gardeners teach workshops throughout county

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Faithful Partner Fund established for K-9 officers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Pedro party, lunch benefit Yolo Hospice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Author — injured arm in sling — will sign her new book

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Holmes’ Green Team wins state award

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Vacaville contractor convicted of fraud

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Blueberries, apricots arrive at Sutter market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    New UCD art lecture series named for Thiebauds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Pinball show features lots of free play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Asian garden open for tours this weekend

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    She knows their business

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Waking up to the awful truth

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Dog’s freedom isn’t worth it

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Vaccine bill is vital for our health

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Thanks for camera’s return

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    David Brooks: Love and merit

    By David Brooks | From Page: A6

     
    Davis’ active transportation plan is right on target

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Huge first frame lifts DHS to big baseball win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil girls run it up on Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD golfers move into first at Big West Championship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Another big inning does in Devil softballers

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

     
    AAA roundup: Cardinals break out big bats in Davis Little League win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Get a positive vibe Wednesday from Tha Dirt Feelin’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Momentum Dance Company plans spring concert

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Winters Theatre Company performs on the Big Day of Giving

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    ‘Contempt of Court’ next up at Winters Theatre Company

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    There’s no place like home in DMTC’s ‘Wizard of Oz’

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Have breakfast in Oz on May 16

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Black Sea Hotel to perform in Village Homes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    DMTC’s young performers present a steam-punk ‘Snow White’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Sacramento Youth Symphony holding open auditions

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7