By Meg Isbitski, Tapinto Hillsborough, August 25, 2019
Approximately 200 community members, politicians, teachers and family members met at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens recently for a panel discussion on a disturbing, emerging trend: The increase in black youth suicide, especially among boys between the ages of 5-11.
Spearheaded by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12th), First Baptist’s Pastor and former New Jersey Secretary of State DeForest “Buster” Soaries Jr. provided the welcome and also participated in facilitating the event. The Congressional Black Caucus and Emergency Task Force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health presented the public forum with black peer advocates, family members, mental health providers and elected officials providing diverse perspectives.
The Task Force was created to address the increase in black youth suicide. According to date from a Nationwide Children’s Hospital 2018 study, boys between the ages of 5 to 11 are twice as likely to attempt as their white counterparts. While statistics show that young black females are more likely to attempt, young black males are more likely to complete suicide. We know that suicide rates in every age group, gender, socioeconomic status, educational level and state in the nation are on the rise.