"We could see our real selves:" The COVID-19 syndemic and the transition to telehealth for a school-based prevention program for newcomer Latinx immigrant youth.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22825
Newcomer Latinx immigrant youths in the United States are currently in a syndemic of increased risk of behavioral health concerns, disparities in access to related services, and are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study used qualitative inquiry to examine the impact that the transition to telehealth had on a school-based group prevention program for immigrant youth, Fuerte, within the context of this syndemic. Data included semi-structured interviews with group leaders, and focus groups with youth program participants. Themes indicated both positive and negative impacts of the transition to telehealth on program component implementation, youth participant engagement, and youth participant social connectedness. Despite the telehealth model, youth participants reported that they felt socially connected to each other through the program. This study's results provide implications for the potential value and drawbacks of a telehealth prevention model for newcomer immigrant youth, as well as deepening understanding of how virtual behavioral health programs may operate in socially isolating contexts around the world.