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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Submits Comments to NIMH on Risk and Prevention of Black Youth Suicide


    Philip Alberti, Senior Director, Health Equity Research and Policy

    The AAMC submitted comments on Jan. 14 to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in response to a Notice of Special Interest in Research on Risk and Prevention of Black Youth Suicide.

    The 2019 report by the Congressional Black Caucus’ Emergency Task Force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health, Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America, identified a recent significant increase in the rate of suicide and suicidal ideation among Black youth.

    The NIMH released the Notice of Special Interest and requested information from stakeholders on epidemiology and developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate interventions to address the risk for and prevention of suicidal ideation and behaviors of Black children and adolescents, particularly among the Black LGBTQ+ community.

    In its comments, the AAMC commended the NIMH for its focus on the research needed to ensure and enhance mental health treatment and suicide prevention specifically for Black youth and encouraged the NIMH to:

    • Engage youth and parents as co-investigators and partners in research that takes a life course perspective to suicidality and builds trusted relationships with Black youth, their families, and communities to facilitate appropriate interventions, access, and utilization.
    • Support research that explores the intersection of multiple identities to develop community-based prevention strategies.
    • Deploy multisector engagement and systems science to train other stakeholders outside public health and health care in mental health screening and referral.
    • Reimagine school health and training to include new models for culturally responsive and positive in-school behavioral health support.
    • Increase funding for research on firearm violence and gun control policies, its direct relationship with suicide risk for Black youth, and its impact — via trauma and stress — to Black youth mental health.