“We Are in a State of Emergency”: What’s Behind the Rising Suicide Rate among Black Kids

October 29, 2021

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Experts are calling for increased efforts to understand and address rising suicide rates among Black youth. According to principal investigator Arielle Sheftall of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, research should look at the particular risk factors for suicide among Black youth, as they may be different from other population groups. Such factors may include limited access to culturally competent mental health care, experiencing racism and discrimination, and bearing a disproportionate brunt of the pandemic. Suicide risk among Black youth is often seen as misbehavior, said psychologist and researcher Isha Metzger, so recognizing when Black kids are struggling is key. Sheftall and others are working on bridging the resource and treatment gap for Black children and families by meeting them where they are. “Why can’t we go to them and actually do services where they are, versus having them always come to us all the time?” Sheftall said. “So, I think we have to really change our mindset about the services that we are providing, and where we’re actually providing those services.”

Spark Extra! Read more about preventing suicide among Black Americans.