Latino Children’s Mental Health: An Analysis of Risk Factors, Healthcare Access, and Intervention Strategies

Holloway, Ian

Research suggests that Latino children are at an elevated risk for a variety of mental health problems (Flores, Fuentes-Afflic, Barbot, et al., 2002). Latinos are often vulnerable to the deleterious effects of poverty, institutional racism, community violence and other types of psychosocial stressors, which have been linked to negative mental health outcomes (Flisher, Kramer, Grosser, et al., 1997; Saunders, Resnick, Hoberman, et al., 1994). Furthermore, Latino children are likely to face significant barriers to accessing mental healthcare services, such as limited availability of Spanish-speaking providers, difficulty obtaining and navigating health insurance, and cultural obstacles, such as the belief that mental illness is a spiritual or religious matter. The current paper will: (1) explore specific risk factors for mental health disorders among Latino children; (2) examine barriers to appropriate mental health treatment among Latino children; (3) provide an overview of the types of intervention strategies currently used to address mental health problems among Latino children; and (4) offer recommendations for the development of additional and/or improved methods for the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders among Latino children.


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Columbia University Journal of Student Social Work

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Academic Units
Social Work
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February 8, 2013