The Congressional Black Caucus

Emergency Task Force on Black Youth Suicide & Mental Health

Chair, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman

Over the last several years, data has emerged indicating an alarming increase in the suicide rates for Black children and teenagers over the past generation. While research has also shown climbing rates for youth from other racial and ethnic groups, this trend in Black youth runs counter to historical data showing lower rates of suicide among Black Americans. The narrowing racial gap in suicide rates tells us that this emergent issue among Black youth warrants attention now. A cadre of Black researchers from across the United States has been ringing the alarm to raise awareness about this disturbing trend. On April 30, 2019, U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman established he Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health, simultaneously empowering a working group, led by Dr. Michael Lindsey, PhD, MSW, MPH, Executive Director of the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, of experts composed of the country‚Äôs leading Black academic, advocacy and practicing experts in this space. Over the past 8 months, the taskforce and working group have held hearings, forums, events and listening sessions to identify both the causes and potential solutions to this burgeoning crisis. On December 17, the taskforce released a report, and simultaneously introduced legislation aimed at closing the mental health care gap for black youth.