Klein_Symposium on Latina Suicide

Senator Klein, New York City Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Dr. Rosa Gil CEO of Comunilife, EmblemHealth Executive Vice President Dr. Russell Petrella, Government Officials & Mental Health Professionals Come Together to Combat High Rate of Latina Teen Suicide


BRONX, NY – State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) recently joined New York City Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, President and CEO of Comunilife Dr. Rosa Gil and EmblemHealth Executive Vice President Dr. Russell Petrella at a symposium focused on combating adolescent Latina suicide. Leading experts, government officials and mental health professionals shared techniques and strategies to tackle the high rate of Latina teen suicide in New York and across the country.


“The stigma associated with depression in the Latina community has had dire consequences. Tragically, more than 13% of Latina teens have contemplated suicide, rarely seeking treatment and representing the highest rates of depression and suicide among ethnic and gender groups in the U.S.,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “I’m proud to have secured $500,000 in state funding to combat this critical mental health issue and help countless adolescents who suffer in silence each day. By providing our most vulnerable populations with the support, resources and tools they need to overcome depression and seek assistance, we are working to ensure positive outcomes for generations of New Yorkers and ultimately, saving lives.”


In the past two years, Senator Klein has secured $500,000 in state funding to expand outreach efforts to Latina teens through the Comunilife Life is Precious™ program. In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their Youth High Risk Behavior Survey, which revealed nationally 26% of Latina teens contemplate suicide, up 5% from 2011 and more than twice the rate of their non-Hispanic counterparts.


“This symposium goes a long way toward creating awareness of the alarming epidemic of Latina adolescent suicide,” said Rosa M. Gil, DSW, President and CEO of Comunilife.“Our program is the only one of its kind that provides life-saving interventions to Latina teens between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, by using emotional and physical wellness, academic programs, and creative arts activities. I am proud to have the support of Senator Klein and EmblemHealth as we look to further our important work.”


Over the past seven years, the Comunilife Life is Precious™ program has served more than 200 Latina teens. As a result of the funding provided by Senator Klein, Comunilife recently expanded its program to Queens.

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