Strict Immigration Policies Affect Latino Mental Health


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Mental health is one of the most important issue in all of healthcare. Anxiety and depression are just two of the more common mental health issues that affect millions of people. In recent years, Latino mental health has become an issue focused on my health agencies across the country. A new study has found that certain policies may be exacerbating Latino mental health concerns

American Latinos living in states with more “exclusionary” immigration policies report higher rates of “psychological distress” than those living in states with more liberal immigration laws.

“Obviously, not all immigrants are Latinos, nor are all Latinos immigrants,” said a research team led by Mark Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

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According to the study, immigrant Latino families often include members with a range of immigration statuses; there is often a stigma attached to undocumented immigrants which is reflected by exclusionary policies. These policies coupled with the inherent stigma may create “suffering” among the whole family.

The researchers considered policies in 31 states with large and/or rapidly growing Latino populations. They specifically considered legislative immigration policies, as well as those dealing with race/ethnicity, language, and agricultural worker protection. The mental health of residents in each state was then looked at by researching the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. As part of the survey, 300,000 Americans were asked to think about their mental health, including stress, depression, and emotional balance.

“Latinos in states with more exclusionary policies had 1.14 times the rate of poor mental health days than Latinos in states with less exclusionary policies,” the report stated.

The researchers also found “a strong relationship between state-level public opinion toward immigration and psychological distress among Latinos.”

Read more about this story here.

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