APA Notice on Black Youth Suicide Crisis

By Alexis Sanchez on January 28, 2020

On January 28, 2020, the American Psychological Association (APA) released a notice on what psychologists are talking about. These are big topics that are of national focus due to their impact on education, our health, and our mental health. The top of the list of topics was focused on the APA notice on black youth suicide crisis.

What does the research say?

According to Lindsey et al. (2019), suicide attempts have increased by 73% among black youth and adolescents between 1991 to 2017. Other studies, including Bridge et al. (2018), have also found a higher risk of suicide for black boys ages 5 to 11. These are alarming statistics for black youth and worrying statistics for the future of black youth.

In order to address suicide in youth, psychologists are focusing their efforts on prevention and treatment for areas such as trauma, depression, and anxiety. Mental health concerns that go untreated can leave youth at risk for suicidal thoughts and attempts. However, when you combine mental health concerns with other elements such as school shootings and trauma, risk only increases. Specifically with black youth, Dr. Sherry Molock, an associate professor of psychology at The George Washington University, mentions that the added elements of racial discrimination and exposure to violence can increase risk for black youth.

Image via: Pexels.com

How can we help?

There are many barriers that prevent black youth from receiving services or help as soon as they would need it. Dr. Burnett-Zeigler, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University, states the cost of care, lack of insurance and transportation as large barriers in the black community. There is also still a lot of stigma, distrust, and shame associated with receiving help for mental health.

The first proposed national bill, Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act of 2019, that addresses mental health in black youth provides hope that there will be progress in the research, prevention programs and services, and treatment availability. This bill also has a focus in “culturally competent mental health care in schools”, which is important because schools are where a lot of youth can receive the mental health services they need.

Image via: Lia Castro from Pexels.com

If you know someone who needs further support or someone to talk to, please use the National Suicide Prevention Line, 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).

For more information from this article including links to the original research, please visit APA’s original article titled “Sounding the alarm on black youth suicide”.

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