The United States Side Of The International Border

Antioch Discusses How the Fear of Deportation Effects the Mental Health of Latinx Populations

Antioch’s Latinx Mental Health & Social Justice Institute hosted a webinar on “Fear of Deportation: Triggering Anxiety & Depression in the Latinx Population” on June 30th, 2022. Guest speaker Olga Lopez-Rangel MSW, LSWAIC, led the presentation, presenting a wealth of insight on this subject matter in order to promote awareness. From the starting point of defining and explaining the significance of the term “Latinx”—which Lopez-Rangel explained is a gender-inclusive term and is interchangeable with Hispanic, Latina, or Latino first used online in 2004, in academic literature since 2013, and in wider public use since 2019—to a detailed discussion of the many mental health challenges that the Latinx community faces, the webinar was full of useful information and actionable suggestions.

Anxiety and depression have a higher prevalence among the Latinx population, a public health concern that is exacerbated by the fear of deportation that many in Latinx communities live with. Lopez-Rangel explained that untreated symptoms of anxiety and depression within the Latinx community can lead to serious mental health concerns and behaviors, including self-harm. She shares that mental health stressors for immigrants include acculturative stress including fear of deportation, family separation, exposure to traumatic events, and discrimination.

“Overall studies show that there is no difference in prevalence of mental health disorders between Latinx and non-Latinx adults,” explained Lopez-Rangel. “However, Latinx immigrants are much less likely to obtain mental health services.” This is an inequity that she and others are working to address including Antioch’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs in Seattle and New England which are responsible for the founding of Antioch’s Latinx Mental Health & Social Justice Institute.

Lopez-Rangel closed the webinar by discussing the resources and interventions that might start closing this gap. Such interventions include CBT, Mindfulness Meditation, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Emotional Regulation Therapy. With community support and available resources, along with interventions, the Latinx population can achieve a higher level of resilience.