The Relationship Between Social Inequalities and Mental Health Among Latinx Immigrant Newcomers in New Mexico During the COVID-19 Pandemic
disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for further research into already existing social inequalities and the mental health of refugee and immigrant populations. As part of an ongoing study, in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted at 4 timepoints prior to and at different stages of the pandemic with 8 Latinx refugee and immigrant participants in the Refugee and Immigrant Well- being Project. Thematic and case study analyses of these 32 interviews revealed important ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic affected Latinx immigrants in the state of New Mexico. This research found that in addition to the stressors of isolation, economic concerns, and fear of the COVID-19 virus, illness, and additional childcare responsibilities experienced by most people, immigrants were further negatively impacted by financial stressors due to lack of work and lack of access to government assistance due to their legal status. Difficulty accessing health care and other resources due to language barriers and enhanced difficulties helping their children navigate online school, participants reported exacerbated mental health symptoms associated with claustrophobia, anxiety, depression, dyslexia, and ADHD in either themselves or their children. These findings have important implications for reducing mental health disparities experienced by newcomers through addressing underlying social and structural inequities.