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Preventing Suicide and Self-Harm Among Black Youth

"Although Black youth have historically not been considered at high risk for suicide and self-harm, current trends now challenge that. In 2019, The Congressional Black Caucus reported that “the suicide death rate among Black youth has been found to be increasing faster than any other racial/ethnic group. In youth ages 10 to 19 years, suicide is the second leading cause of death, and in 2017, over 3,000 youth died by suicide in this age group. Over the past decade, increases in the suicide death rate for Black youth have seen the rate rising from 2.55 per 100,000 in 2007 to 4.82 per 100,000 in 2017. Black youth under 13 years are twice as likely to die by suicide and when comparing by sex, Black males, 5 to 11 years, are more likely to die by suicide compared to their White peers.” Further, the YRBS (Youth Risk Behavior Survey, developed by the CDC) indicated that “suicide attempts rose by 73% between 1991-2017 for Black adolescents (boy and girls), while injury by attempt rose by 122% for Black adolescent boys during that time period. This suggests Black males are engaging in more lethal means when attempting suicide.”

This webinar focused on the epidemiology of suicide and self-harm among Black youth, identified evidence-based and informed strategies for prevention, risk and protective factors, barriers to prevention and resources available to providers. Dr. Crystal Barksdale of the National institute of Mental Health discussed the most recent data on suicide and suicidal behaviors among Black youth. She described risk and protective factors for suicide and deleterious mental health outcomes. Dr. Rhonda Boyd of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine presentws barriers to intervention engagement among Black youth and current evidence for suicide prevention, including screening and treatment. She shared information regarding organizations and websites that are important resources for practitioners. Ellyson Stout of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at Education Development Center moderated the webinar. "

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