In a recent New York Times editorial, psychiatrist Richard Friedman names an important crisis happening for young people—death by suicide. What Dr. Friedman fails to mention is that this crisis is exacerbated by systemic injustices making it more severe for young people of color.
Black and Latinx young folks are suffering at far higher rates than their white peers. Suicide rates for Black girls doubled between 2001 and 2017. For Black boys, rates rose by 60 percent. And 1 in 10 young Latinas attempts suicide.
As Friedman says, we cannot wait any longer to address this crisis. We don’t have to. We know that earlier intervention leads to far better outcomes. At Peer Health Exchange we train diverse college students across the country to teach workshops about mental health and other topics to ninth graders, helping them seek help sooner.
Organizations like the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco help pediatricians screen for and treat trauma in marginalized youth. And Mindright pairs counselors of color with young folks in need of services.
Whether through our powerful program, these organizations or others, it’s our job to show up for young people and help them get help. When they do, they are even more capable of realizing their own, endless potential.
Co-Founder and CEO
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers