UNDER PRESSURE

Chatham's Latinx teens battle cultural effects on mental health

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SILER CITY – Noemi Mora, Cesia Lopez and Lenore Ramos — each 17-year-old seniors at Jordan-Matthews High School— share many similarities with their peers.

They’re in the midst of making some major decisions, like whether or not to go to college. They’re thinking about careers to pursue. And they’ll tell you that those decisions add enough pressure to their lives.

But each face things they say their many of their other classmates will never have to deal with.

Mora, Lopez and Ramos are Hispanic. And while that’s nothing abnormal in Chatham County, and especially nothing strange in Siler City or at Jordan-Matthews, they say their day-to-day struggles are unique to their ethnicity.

“I feel like there’s so much more pressure on a Latino person than there is a white person,” Mora says. “I feel like we all try so hard to get out of where we came from and we have such pressure to be bigger and better than our parents are.”

So it’s no surprise to them that their Hispanic peers in high school are more likely to be depressed, consider suicide and attempt suicide than the average Chatham County teenager, and at some levels, more likely than their national counterparts.

Why?

The students point to the unique amounts of pressure that face them in their daily lives.

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