Latino adults in the United States with documentation status concerns—such as fearing deportation—report poorer physical and mental health than individuals without those concerns, according to a new University of Michigan study.
Regardless of their documentation status distresses, Latino participants who feel a stronger sense of support report fewer negative mental health symptoms, the research shows.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., with the majority being of Latino descent. Despite the large size of this population, access to resources supporting mental and physical health is relatively low due to social, systemic, and linguistic barriers.
The awareness of potential discrimination from government officials, health care professionals and everyday encounters discourages undocumented individuals from seeking care, says Fernanda Lima Cross, an assistant professor at the U-M School of Social Work, and colleagues, who talked to nearly 500 Latino adults in Washtenaw County, Michigan, in 2013-14.
“The goal of this data collection was to provide a snapshot of the health and mental health of the Latinx population of the county to increase awareness of the community’s needs and strengths, which can support program and intervention development as well as provide information to agencies and clinicians working with the community,” Cross said.
Even though the data is from a decade ago, the results are still applicable today, Cross says. When the data was collected, Latino immigrants in Washtenaw County lived in hypervigilance due to community raids under the Obama administration. Since then, Latino immigrants continued to experience marginalization and discrimination throughout the Trump administration, she says.
Read more at News.UMich.edu.