Senator David Carlucci Calls for Investigation into Black Youth Suicide

Senator David Carlucci

September 10, 2019

(New City, NY) – Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day, and Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) reignites the call for a State black youth suicide prevention task force.

Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee Chair, Carlucci said, “Youth suicide must be addressed. We are seeing unprecedented numbers, and this crisis is affecting our young black children at an alarming rate. We need experts to address factors that could be contributing so we can best tailor our suicide prevention methods. I urge the Governor to sign this critical piece of legislation into law.”

Legislation (S.4467/A.6740) sponsored by Carlucci and Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre to establish the task force made up mental health experts passed the full legislature in June and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature to be signed into law.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24, and the suicide rate for black children increased 77 percent from 2006 to 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that the suicide rate is roughly two times higher for black children aged 5 through 12 compared with white children of the same age group, results that were observed in both males and females. Although researchers were able to examine suicide rates, the data did not include information on what might be contributing to the age-related racial disparities in suicide.  

The task force will examine, evaluate and determine remedies for improving mental health and preventing suicides among black children, 5 to 18-years-old. It will be comprised of appointees with expertise in fields or disciplines related to mental health as well as knowledge of issues affecting black communities. Public hearings, the gathering of testimony, and investigations will take place as the task force deems necessary, with a preliminary report on its findings, conclusions and recommendations due to the Governor and Legislature within 13 months.

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