Black Youth Minds Matter

By Our Minds Matter
February 11, 2021

In celebration of Black History Month, Our Minds Matter (OMM) is bringing awareness to Black youth mental health. In this campaign, they seek to amplify organizations that work to support Black mental health. Thier goal is to increase awareness of mental health resources and reduce stigma around mental health for Black youth. Teens are expressing increased feelings of depression, anxiety and other mental illness. However, while mental wellness and illness do not see race, access to support is often decided by race.

Here are some key data surrounding Black youth mental health: 

  • Only 4% of psychologists are Black. (APA) 
  • The rate of suicide by Black youth aged 5 to 11 years old has increased substantially over the past couple decades to now double the rate of white youth suicide of the same age group. (SAMHSA)
  • Black youth are significantly less likely than white youth to receive outpatient treatment even after a suicide attempt. (NIH)
  • Given that many Black youth struggle with complex racial trauma, youth are in need of providers trained with cultural competence so that they do not perpetuate stereotypes or increase barriers to care. (NIH)
    • For example...forty-seven states do not have the minimum number of counselors to meet the Department of Education’s recommended student-to-counselor ratio. (Salud America!)

These statistics are not something that will be accepted and OMM will work diligently to change this data to better support Black youth. OMM believes that we can build a world without teen suicide. They teamed up with another non-profit called the AAKOMA Project, District of Columbia Public Schools, and the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church to expand their reach and strengthen their impact. They have offered a series of events during the month of February aiming to reduce the stigma and eliminate the barriers preventing Black youth from seeking help. A rising tide helps all, providing equity to access leaves our society with stronger and healthier youth who are to grow up and be great.

On Tuesday, February 23 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. EST, OMM will be hosting a Solomon Carter Fuller Speaker Panel event in honor of Solomon Carter Fuller (1872 - 1953), the first African American Psychiatrist. Dr. Solomon Fuller made several discoveries in the field of Alzheimer’s research, leaving his impact on the scientific and medical communities. During this panel, they will be joined by researchers, scientists, business owners, public speakers and students to dive into the topic of Black youth mental health. Consider joining them for this vital conversation.

The panel will be moderated by Justin Graves, founder and owner of HESONWHEELS, and include:

  • Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble, a pioneering psychologist, author, and founder of mental health non-profit AAKOMA Project
  • Jordan Burnham, the Director of Student Engagement at Minding Your Mind.
  • Dr. Kristin J. Carothers, a clinical child psychologist who specializes in work with children with ADHD and behavior disorders. 
  • Seblework Alemu, a senior at Robinson Secondary School & co-president of Rams Minds Matter 
  • Nijel Jackson, a clinical social worker and the Director of School Mental Health with DCPS

Anyone who is interested is invited to attend this free event. Register for this event here. Email program@ourmindsmatter.org with any questions. It will be an exiting opportunity to learn more on Black youth mental health.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call 911.

The Healthy Minds Blog shares information related to youth mental health and wellness for an audience of parent, educators and community-based providers. Articles include tips and strategies for increasing wellness and resiliency, as well as fostering success at home, at school and in the community.

The Healthy Minds Blog is a collaborative project between Fairfax County Public Schools and the Prevention Unit of the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. It is part of the Healthy Minds Fairfax (see below) initiative, designed to support emotional wellness in youth and families.

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