HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hispanic families are reporting higher rates of stress and mental health issues.

  • Tampa nonprofit promoting emotional well-being in Hispanic youth
  • Hispanic families reporting higher rates of stress, mental health issues
  • Familes in need of coping methods due to events like El Paso shooting, immigrantion raids

Now, a local organization is stepping in to help provide them with the tools they need to cope.

Events like the El Paso shooting, family separations, and immigrant raids have left many Hispanic families feeling shaken up.

“I see a lot of stress. I see them worried about their parents,” Alayne Unterberger, Executive Director of Florida Institute for Community Studies, said.  

“My mom and dad were watching the news yesterday and they were talking about what happened in Texas and the guy in the Wal-Mart,” said Santiago, a fifth-grader. 

Santiago and his friend Brandon say school shootings are their biggest fear.

“I feel kind of worried now that that might happen in our school,” he said. 

But their parents seem just as concerned with immigration issues. 

“To be honest I do feel like they’re more worried than I am right now,” they said. 

The Florida Institute for Community Studies recently got a grant to implement a program called Familia Adelante.

It's a 6-week bilingual program, teaching parents and kids the proper ways to cope.

“Even if parents are being strong and not talking about it, the kids know that something is going on, they can feel it and they hear it in school too,” Unterberger said. 

The program has been proven effective in Hispanic youth in the past, and in this time of increased stress, the nonprofit hopes local families will find peace of mind. 

“Coming together and having them talk to each other about the things they wish they could do differently and to take new steps,” Unterberger said. 

FICS is looking for about ten families to take part in the program. 

They're encouraging other local organizations to refer families who may need it.

You can contact the organization at 813-801-6844 or email Alayne Unterberger at alayneu@ficsinc.org.