Durkheim And Latina Suicide Attempts

Last class discussion sparked very important issues concerning suicide. The influences of suicide depend on geographical, biological, and social causes; but Durkheim focuses more on the social side of this occurrence. In the studies conducted by Durkheim it was clear that people went through with suicide when they felt detached, didn’t have a sense of commitment nor face-to-face interaction with other people. People that were married have large families and in times of war have less chances of committing suicide. Being involved in groups gives them a sense of commitment and a shared purpose; acting as the glue that tie them together. As a result they start developing solidarity and moral values. Modern society has shifted from primary groups (family) to secondary groups (work &school); as a result most of our time is spent in secondary groups detaching us and making us more individualistic. Although being independent from our primary groups can have its benefits it’s still important to maintain emotional ties with individuals and interact with them regularly. We are social beings so it’s vital to our mental and physical health to maintain close relationships that give us a sense of purpose

I was dumbfounded during our class discussion about Latinas having the highest suicide attempts, since it contradicted Durkheim’s theory. He stated that emotional tides to family and that economic deprivation don’t transcend into increasing suicide attempts; in the contrary when these things are missing suicide rates increase. To further understand this ongoing epidemic, I decided to listen to one of the radio clip that was provided in the slides during class, Lynn Neary, “Why Are Young Latinas at Risk?” August 29, 2006. The leading cause of suicide attempts among Latinas is due to the fact there parents are very religious and have been socialized since birth into deeply rooted Christian religions that maintain strict traditional values. They ignore the social changes that come with immigrating to other countries; which is a result of the limited education they have received in their native countries due to poverty, which influences their Childs development and education. These families were extremely conservative when it came to sex education, they believe that if they didn’t speak about it, it simply didn’t exist; but ironically Latinas have the highest rates of Teen pregnancy. Most Latino families don’t educate their Children about sex because they are afraid that it would enable them to become promiscuous. Growing up in a contemporary world that’s changing constantly is difficult and as a result we must change at the same pace. Latinas are not motivated to educate themselves, instead to just care for their families and their children. They are encouraged to drop out of school to fulfill their mother’s duties. Something from the radio clip that stood out to me was that one of the callers that worked at a high school mentioned that the Latina girls that attended the school formed a pregnancy club. This shows the lack of support they might face at home and so these girls come together for the wrong reasons, to feel some type of acceptances. A Latina woman also called revealing the fact that she was once called not Latina enough for pursuing a college degree and then she went on to say that all of her Latina friends ended up becoming teen moms. It’s very sad that in the 21th century we are still dealing with such cultural barriers. Most of the Latina suicide attempts are due to sexuality and boyfriends. Latino families haveCultural resistances to therapy. They are very close-minded, they believe that if you seek any professional help either your crazy or weak. This problem has been evident for the past 10 years and what’s worse is that the national institute of health has ignored it. This growing issue needs to be tackled before it’s too late, since by 2050 one in every four woman in the U.S will be of Latino decent. It’s really scary that being a Latina myself I never heard about this within my community! Not only does the national institute of health need to find a way to solve this problem; they also need to promote awareness among the Latino community, because maybe instead of these young girls creating pregnancy clubs they would actually create suicide awareness clubs that focuses on the underlying issues that are causing all these suicide attempts.


3 responses to “Durkheim And Latina Suicide Attempts

  1. shannonhopeinman

    I was also very shocked at learning that Latinas have the highest suicide rate. I have always perceived the Latino community to be very strong and bonded, therefore having lower suicide rates because of large families and a sense of community. However it makes sense to think about it from a cultural view point. Coming from Christian backgrounds, they do not address sexuality, leading to a high case of pregnancies. Latino families also have a hard time assimilating to American culture.

  2. I was very shocked myself to see that Latinas had the highest suicide rate. Me myself i chose white females thinking they would be stressed more. When you see the statistics all showing why they commit suicide, them being the highest drop rate also and things of that nature you begin to reconsider. They do go through a lot and they are raised so much different than that of Americans. Also they are very high in pregnancy rate and once you have a child your whole life changes. You maybe way more stressed than you ever were.

  3. Excellent presentation and engaging discussion, L. Relating this to Durkheim’s insights, it seems that the key social condition in play is not a lack of social integration (*egoism*) but a lack of moral regulation (*anomie*), specifically, a lack of consistent moral regulation, stemming from the conflict in moral standards between the traditional values of their immigrant parents and mainstream American values. Here’s another more recent news article on the problem: “Suicides highlight plight of Hispanic teens” – http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/07/20137217262714490.html

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