Suicide. The word itself is scary, so imagine what teens who consider it must be going through or feeling.
More and more Latina girls in NYC have thought about – or attempted- suicide. Here’s the story of one 16-year-old, Ymalay Rodríguez, who dreams of being a singer, but has tried to end her life several times. –
“At just 11 years old, she began to believe that she was bipolar. Events such as her mother’s illness, hanging out with the wrong crowd and temporarily losing her eyesight triggered her fears. “As my therapist used to say, I didn’t feel anything, and that’s why I started cutting, so I could feel something,” she said.
Ymalay is one of many who Latina teens in NY who are in crisis. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- 25.6 percent of all Hispanic female students have thought of suicide
- 18.5 percent of all Latina teens in New York City have seriously considered suicide
- 20.4 percent of Hispanic girls on Staten Island have had suicidal thoughts
- 18.8 percent of them have attempted suicide at least once
The causes? Not feeling accepted, issues at home, difficulty growing up and being able to deal with the stress of teen life, and even migration.
But there is help. After trying to get better, Ymalay eventually went to Life is Precious program in the Bronx, a home away from home, where teens use creative activities like art, music, painting & poetry- to express their feelings. They also get help with homework, access to computers and books and can learn about nutrition and cooking as they work on getting better, stronger and mentally healthy. “I found a family in the program,” Ymalay said.
Everyone has moments when they feel down, or sad, or overwhelmed by life. There is no shame in reaching out for help. Mental health matters SO much, so take time to take care of you – make time to take care of you. There are people here to help.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can text the NYC Teen SMS Text Crisis Counseling ANYtime of day or night – just text the number 65173. In October, they will start offering the service in Spanish as well.
If you are stressed out, anxious or just need someone to talk to, reach out to LifeNet – English: 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-3638) Spanish: 1-877-AYUDESE (1-877-298-3373).