September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and according to the NIH the impact of rising suicide rates in the U.S. on youth are often overlooked - particularly Black youth. Black people and individuals in other racial and ethnic minority groups have historically had relatively low rates of suicide. But this has been changing recently, especially for Black youth.
As Black youth suicide rates rise, more attention is being paid to the issue. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and the Congressional Black Caucus deserve credit for raising awareness of the issue and for establishing the Emergency Task-force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health. Their report, Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America, was released in December 2019.
More research is needed to understand how suicide risk develops among Black youth, and how it can be prevented. Significant questions remain in terms of understanding and predicting suicide risk among Black youth.
The disparities in access to mental health services may contribute to increased suicide risk among Black youth. Black youth continue to be less likely to receive mental health treatment for depression when needed – Key Health Care can help by making access to its Counseling Benefit low cost, easy to subscribe and available to the entire family.