Almost 15 Percent of Latina Teens Attempt Suicide: Study

The percentage of Latina high school students in New York City who attempted suicide once or more in 2009 was much higher than the average for all female students, according to statistics recently released by the Center for Disease Control.

Fifteen percent of Latina students attempted suicide compared to 10 percent of all city high school girls in 2009. In Brooklyn, a staggering 21 percent of Latina high school students attempted suicide that year.

The study found also Latina youth are less likely than white youth to use mental health services in the year they may attempt suicide.

"If we're investing all these resources, and developing all this programming, then our numbers should be dropping," said Council member Julissa Ferreras of Queens during a City Council hearing on the issue held Monday. "I'm hoping we can shift where the ship is going a little into a more aggressively targeted mission."

Some Council members said more cultural competency awareness is needed for health care providers to reach immigrant communities that may not trust mental health professionals.

City officials said all health care providers contracted with the city are required to go through cultural competency training.