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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Discussion Explores Why #Suicide Is More Prevalent Among #Youth From Marginalized Communities


KERA | By Mia Estrada

An illustration of a generic head in profile with a green ribbon pinned to it.

Experts held a virtual event to talk about the pressures faced by #teens of color and #young members of the #LGBTQ+ community, and how to support those groups.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

This story discusses #suicide. If you need help, please call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741.

#Suicide has become the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24 — and experts say there are disparities by #race, sexuality and economic status.

To date, #NativeAmerican #young people experience #suicide rates at almost three times that of the national average. #Lesbian, #gay and #bisexual #young people are five times more likely to attempt #suicide than their #heterosexual counterparts. And the rise and death by #suicide for #young #Black people has been called a crisis by the #NationalInstituteofMentalHealth.

“While all these groups differ in their risk of suicidality, this is in part due to access to culturally appropriate #behavioralhealthtreatment, experiences with, of course, discrimination and historical trauma and other factors,” said Jaya Davis, Associate Professor, the University of Texas at Arlington, on Wednesday.

Davis and other experts spoke at a virtual discussion hosted by the advocacy group called #Children at Risk, a Texas-based organization. The researchers discussed their findings on #youth #suicide risks, featured in the current issue of the Journal of Family Strengths 

Darius Reed, an adjunct professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, studied the factors, including environmental, faced by Black #youth.

“An individual’s environment plays a large role in decision making when it comes to suicidality,” Reed said. “#Youth who live in poverty, go to school daily and may not have the ability to eat breakfast before they head to school or have #parents who are very involved— all of that weighs on a person, heavily, mentally when you step out of your household.”

Reed and Raymond Adams co-authored the article, “Risk and Protective Factor specific to #AfricanAmerican #Youth and #Adolescents: A Systematic Review.”

The two said that universal health care and greater access to #mentalhealthpractitioners and social workers within the school system would help make a change in #youth #suicide risks.

“That would completely change the game,” Reed said.

Oregon Alliance to Prevent #Suicide founding member Julie Magers said more ground-level data could help inform prevention efforts. Her article is called, “Youth Crisis and Transition Services (CATS): Incorporating Family Peer Support Specialists to Assist Families During Crisis.”

“A better understanding of what the #youth and their family need in their community, where they live,” Magers said.

The panelists acknowledged the research between youth #suicide and suicidal behaviors is limited by underreporting and other limitations.

But Camille Gibson, executive director at Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at Prairie View A&M University and editor-in-chief of JFS, said the journal gives us insight on how to prevent #youth #suicide.

“We need to make that investment of resources, we need to pay attention to our children when they are experiencing a crisis,” Gibson said.

The full discussion is available on Facebook.

Got a tip? Email Mia Estrada at mestrada@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @miaaestrada.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

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