COVID-19 Hurts Latino Children’s Mental Health

Hugo Balta


The COVID-19 pandemic is doing more than exposing the racial, ethnic, and economic disparities existing in our society; it is making them worse.

The pandemic’s impact has left an undeniable mark with long-lasting effects on the Latino community and in particular children. According to a report by Boston-based Latinos for Education, over 22% of students across Massachusetts are Latino. 

“Being away from his friends, being away from his teachers has been difficult,” said Lorena Lopera, executive director of Latinos for Education’s state chapter, of her son, who is in the first grade and learning how to read via Zoom.

“It’s easy to look at the hardships that we’ve identified and think that this is mainly happening to the parents,” said Dana Thomson, a researcher at Child Trends, who is also a co-author of the report. “But research shows that the stress that families and parents experience definitely trickles down to their children either indirectly through parent-child interactions or by the types of experiences that they’re able to provide, or directly.”

Approximately 40-percent of Hispanics – Latinos nationwide reported experiencing frequent symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, according to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Anxiety and depression can have physical effects like severe headaches, stomach pains, chills, and difficulty breathing. 

The Latinos for Education survey reveals 43% of Spanish-speaking families indicated that they’ve witnessed a decline in their children’s mental health due to the pandemic.

According to the Gaston Institute, “Latinos, who make up 12.3% of Massachusett’s population, account for 30% of all COVID-19 cases.”