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Congressional Black Caucus Launches Emergency Taskforce On Black Youth Suicide And Mental Health

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are seeking to raise awareness around the increasing rates of suicide among Black youth and to identify legislative recommendations to combat the issue.

By Breanna Edwards, ESSENCE

Suicide has become a growing concern within the Black community. As such, the Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday moved to launch a new emergency taskforce to look into the problem, specifically among Black youth, seeking to identify causes and solutions.

In a press release from the office of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), who is chairing the taskforce, it is noted that access to mental health care is also a cause of growing concern among Black youth.

The release notes that in 2018, the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics published a report which marked the first time in history of such research that the rate of suicides for Black kids between ages five and 12 exceeded that of their White counterparts. More than a third of elementary school-aged suicides also involved Black children.

The taskforce will bring together experts in the nation’s capital to raise awareness about the issue throughout Congress, with the intention of identifying legislative recommendations to address what the release called a “mental health crisis.”

The taskforce has tapped the expertise of professionals, led by Dr. Michael Lindsey and the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University to develop and to produce a report by the end of 2019.

Other members of Congress on the taskforce include Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Alcee Hastings, (D-Fla.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.)

This article originally appeared in ESSENCE.

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