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  • NASW-IL Staff

Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce on Racial Disparities in Mental Health Access

Practice Alert

Congressional Black Caucus and Mental Health Professionals Seek to Address Racial Disparities in Access to Behavioral Health

Takia Richardson, LICSW,LCSW

Senior Practice Associate

August 2019

For several years, suicide has remained among the top 10causes of death for ages10 through 44. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics’ Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999–2017 brief indicates that suicide rates in the United States increased by 33 percent during that review period (Hedegaard, Curtin, & Warner, 2018). In 2018, JAMA Pediatrics published a research letter titled“Racial Disparity in Suicide Rates Among US Youth From 2001 Through 2015”(Bridge et al., 2018). The letter noted that an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System revealed an increase in the rates of suicide amongst black youths ages five through 11. The letter also noted that there was a decrease in suicide rates among white youths in the same age group. “Analyses revealed that the suicide rate among those younger than 13 years is approximately 2 times higher for black children compared with white children, a finding observed in boys and girls”(Bridge et al., 2018, p. 698).

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