Practice Alert: Addressing the Crisis of Black Youth Suicide

In April 2019, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) launched the Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health. The emergency task force was created to address startling findings from a 2018 research letter in the Journal of America Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics which reported, among other things, a 73% increase in the suicide rates of Black youth between the ages of five and 12. The findings debunked long held beliefs about suicide rates among Black youth in general. Concerned about these findings and seeking additional information on what steps could be taken to address and reverse this trend, the Task Force formed a working group of social work and other mental health professionals chaired by Dr. Michael Lindsay, PhD, MSW, MPH, Executive Director of the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. The working group was charged with developing a comprehensive report on this complex issue, including preliminary solutions for families and providers.

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