Structural Inequities and the Impact of COVID-19 on Latinx Children: Implications for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Practice

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In the United States, the Latinx community (Latinx is a gender-neutral term to describe any person of Latin American descent or heritage) is a heterogeneous population with diverse cultural origins, different migratory experiences, and different socioeconomic and educational realities. The disruptions to daily life and the associated stresses of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have been perhaps most acutely felt by Black and Latinx children from low-income families, including first-generation and undocumented immigrants.1 Structural inequities, such as the lack of employer-sponsored insurance in the service and retail industries; barriers to applying for public benefits, even for those who qualify; chronic poverty; and the lack of linguistically and culturally effective services have contributed to the disproportionate impact. In this article, the authors consider how structural inequities have rendered Latinx children particularly vulnerable to the devastating physical and psychological effects of the pandemic, identify risk and protective factors that are related to mental health outcomes, and recommend ways in which child and adolescent psychiatrists can respond to the escalating needs.


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