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Florida high school football star’s death highlights rising suicide rates among black youth

In a study last year, the Journal of Community Health found that suicide rates are disproportionately higher among black adolescents. From 2001 to 2017, the rate for black teen boys rose 60 percent, according to the study. Among black teen girls, rates nearly tripled, rising by an astounding 182 percent.

The Congressional Black Caucus in a report last month, “Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America,” found that African American adolescents are less likely than any other racial or ethnic group to receive proper mental health care.

Teaching youth about the values of developing a healthy lifestyle is also crucial, Gardere said, as well as raising awareness about the resources that are available — such as Crisis Text Line and Mental Health First Aid, which offers classes on how to recognize mental illness and substance use disorders.

Just talking about mental health helps, said Jennifer Snow, director of public policy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“The more people are talking about it, the more it’s normalized as just another health condition that you need to deal with,” she said. “We know treatment works. People can live healthy, fulfilling lives, but when they are not able to access treatment disaster can happen.”

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