Dr. Luis Zayas is the Professor of Psychology at the Washington School of Medicine in Saint Louis and the founder and director of the Center for Latino Family Research at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University.
Professor Zayas’ clinical experience spans 25 years of working with children, adolescents, adults, and families working in community mental health, psychiatric clinics, pediatric rehabilitation, and community-based primary care medicine.
Zayas has been treating girls like Yanira for years, and he says that her situation is all too common. He believes that many suicide attempts by young Latinas are not necessarily born out of an actual desire for death; rather, it’s how these girls communicate their distress, their insufficient emotional well-being, the lack of open communication with their parents.
Zayas has been conducting a study of Latina girls, their families, and suicide. It’s groundbreaking research and has led him to say that he believes the root of the issue is the family members’ concept of sexuality, and the perceived strain on familial cohesion posed by the desire for teenage autonomy.
Listen to his extended interview with Maria.
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