Suicide Prevention Week: A Reminder of the Mental Health Crisis Confronting Black Californians

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By Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media (CBM) – The conclusion of Suicide Prevention Week on Sept.16, served as a reminder, according to wellness advocates, of the ongoing mental health crisis faced by Black Californians. Between 2010 and 2019, Black Californians experienced a 31.1% increase in suicide deaths, according to the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that between 2019 and 2020, non-Hispanic White people experienced a decrease in suicide rates by 4.5% while the rate for non-Hispanic Black people increased by 4%. For Black men, the numbers are more dire. Over the last two decades, the suicide rate for Black men has increased by nearly 60%, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Many of these suicides occur among people aged 10 to 24, prompting schools, colleges and universities to develop programs to reach out to young Black Californians dealing with mental health challenges. The Claremont Colleges (TCC), a consortium of five private liberal arts colleges and two graduate schools located in Southern California, have implemented programs of their own. “Across our campuses, we are continuously working to reduce or remove perceived barriers that...