The gap between suicide-related rates among Black youth and historically higher rates among White youth is narrowing, and glaring racial disparities in mental health treatment remain, according to a new report released by Congressional Black Caucus’s Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health.
“Alarming trends among Black youth have been overlooked as America grapples with rising suicide rates,” said the task force’s research leader Michael A. Lindsey, executive director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research and the Constance and Martin Silver Professor of Poverty Studies at New York University.
Self-reported suicide attempts rose by 73 percent between 1991-2017 for Black high school students. The Black youth suicide rate rose from 2.55 per 100,000 children in 2007 to 4.82 per 100,000 children in 2017. The suicide rate for Black children ages 5-12 is roughly twice that of White children of the same age group. The suicide death rate among Black youth has been found to be increasing faster than any other racial/ethnic group.
Professor Lindsay stated that “with this report, we are ringing the alarm on a growing mental health crisis among Black youth and calling attention to the need for more research funding; mental health professionals in schools; and local, state and federal attention.”
Dr. Lindsey is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta. He earned a master of social work degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and a master of public health degree and a Ph.D. in social work at the University of Pittsburgh.
The full report, Ring the Alarm: the Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America, may be downloaded here.