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Mental Health Access for Youth

Young Latinos, particularly Latinas, suffer from some of the highest rates of suicide in the country. A 2013 Centers for Disease Control report, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), found that 26% of young Latina females seriously considered attempting suicide compared to 21.1% of white females and 11.4% white males. In the same study, 20% of Latina females had made a suicide plan, and 10.7% attempted suicide. With World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, young Latinos should know that suicide is preventable and may be eligible for free or low-cost mental health services through Medi-Cal and Covered California.

For Latino youth, school is not the only thing to worry about. Nearly 1 in 3 children suffer from mental illness, and young Latino males are 4.1 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than young white males, according to Drexel School of Public Healthy study. A National Council of La Raza study revealed that nearly 18% of Latinos will suffer from depression at some point in their life often starting before the age of 25, but are less likely to receive care compared to their racial/ethnic counterparts.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Latino youth, and unfortunately depression is one of the largest factors leading to suicide. That’s why it’s crucial for Latino youth to understand the signs of depression and learn more on how to reach out to receive help.

Youth and adults can receive mental health services at the local level through their counties and contract providers. Services include early and periodic screening, treatment, diagnosis, in-home bheavioral services and even out-of-county placements. For more information about where to receive care in your county, visit Network of Care.

Californians can enroll in health care through these options:

  • at local community health centers and local county social service offices
  • online at; open enrollment will take place starting November 15, 2014 and February 15, 2015 for Covered California and a person can apply for Medi-Cal at any time.
  •  in person through a Certified Enrollment Counselor or a Certified Insurance Agent


For more information, the public may call 1800-300-1506 (English) or 1800-300-0213 (Spanish), 8a.m.—6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday

For those not eligible for health coverage, they can go to to find the health center nearest them. These health centers will serve anyone who walks through their doors, regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

If anyone is in crisis and needs immediate help, they can call this toll-free number, available 24/7: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).