[Pictured: Dr. William Martinez, UCSF Director of Pediatric Mental Health for the UCSF Health and Human Rights Initiative, is the principal investigator of the Fuerte program, a school-based group prevention program targeting newcomer immigrant youth at risk of behavioral health concerns. Photo: Anna Hoch-Kenney]
Every year, about 500 newcomer immigrants enroll in San Francisco public high schools, according to district data. Of those 500, well over half come from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Another eight percent come from Mexico.
Among recent immigrants, linguistic, academic, social, financial, and now, pandemic stress is common. Latinx newcomer youth are at increased risk for traumatic stress and behavioral disorders, according to research done by the William T. Grant Foundation. They are also less likely than their white counterparts to have access to and use mental health care services.
Fuerte, a semester-long mental health education program for Spanish-speaking Latinx newcomer immigrants