New research shows suicide rates increased among black children

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young people today.

A new report shows those rates have significantly increased for more Black youth especially for young Black girls.

“Black youth are facing more risk for mental instability, and suicidality just due to gaps in resource disparities, training of behavioral health professionals,” said Latoya Logan, executive director for Project Lift.

Logan works with dozens of young black men with Project Lift in Cleveland, Ohio and helping them overcome mental health challenges.

“There’s a lot of research that suggests that providers struggle with seeing black youth and black people in general, as being in need of help and that we are just so strong and capable and that’s obviously not true,” said Logan.

New research published in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry shows 1,800 black children died by suicide between 2003 to 2017. Of those numbers, nearly 40 percent were black girls between 12 to 14 years old.

“Seeing the stats was hard enough, but listening to the stories is almost always worse,” said Senator Sherrod Brown / (D) Ohio.

Senator Brown is co-sponsoring legislation with Illinois Congresswoman Lauren Underwood that would increase funding and raise awareness for suicide prevention for children and young adults.

“Convince policy makers and the country overall how important it is to invest in mental health,” he said.

Logan said this will help, but she wants to see more support targeting the needs of black youth.

“You have to tap into the large system of nonprofits, and community organizers who are actually in the streets, offering these services and building healthy relationships for engagement,” she said.

Additionally, Logan wants to see more cultural awareness training for social workers and behavioral health providers.