Seminar Discusses Mental Health in Latinx Communities

Dr. Victor Buitron presenting his research at FIU | Carla Mendez, PantherNOW

Carla Mendez | Staff Writer

Those who are a part of the Hispanic community understand the pervasive stigma behind mental health at an intimate level that occurs, often behind closed doors. 

On Apr. 17, Dr. Victor Buitron held a seminar to discuss the convergent areas of youth suicide prevention and mental health among underserved Latinx populations. 

Buitron is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University. 

Drawing from his comprehensive research and knowledge, Buitron discussed unconventional methods for recognizing, quantifying, and dealing with youth suicide risk, particularly within Hispanic/Latinx communities. 

Buitron’s presentation included a thorough summary of his research initiatives, ranging from the etiology and assessment of teenage suicide risk to the development of shorter treatments and the reduction of suicide-related stigma. 

He emphasized the importance of validated evaluation methods and therapies made to cultural contexts, noting encouraging initial findings from the “Give to Others” therapy module. 

From this model, Buitron found that the short interventions were accepted among at-risk adolescents and their parents in an open trial. This has paved the way for future research initiatives to establish target validation and confirmatory efficacy testing. 

“The way that I see this fitting into a broader suicide prevention initiative would be across levels and it depends on the content category,” Buitron said when speaking on the four general content and strategy categories found within his qualitative prompt.

“But these are narratives that could absolutely be implemented into primary care, psycho-education or even in outpatient care.”

One of the key lessons from the seminar was the awareness that the Latinx community demands a more intricate approach to mental health treatment. 

“Providing guidance to clinicians in how to approach the topic of suicide-related stigma with these families in a way that is responsive to them culturally and aligned with the way Hispanic parents would communicate this sort of topic,”  Buitron calls attention to.

Looking ahead, Buitron described his vision for future research, which includes improving psychosocial interventions, understanding the root causes of preadolescent suicidality, and confronting maladaptive societal norms.

“I want to continue some of the testing of psychosocial therapies that I alluded to and potentially developing and testing preventions,” he said. 

Buitron’s research highlights the significance of recognizing and understanding Hispanic populations’ distinct cultural perspectives, values, and beliefs concerning mental health. Through this, he emphasizes the need to personalize treatments to the unique requirements of diverse communities.

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