Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The number of suicides among black youth is increasing faster than other racial or ethnic groups, an analysis by the Congressional Black Caucus found Thursday.
The caucus found that the suicide rate for black youths aged 10 to 19 was 4.82 per 100,000 in 2017, up from 2.55 per 100,000 in 2007. Those under 13 years old are twice as likely to die by suicide, and black males between 5 and 11 years old are more likely to die by suicide when compared to white male peers.
Suicide is now considered the second-leading cause of death for black youth between the ages of 10 and 19.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., who chaired the CBC task force that oversaw the creation of the report on black youth suicide, said mental health should be treated like other health issues for which people visit a doctor.
"There are a lot of complicating factors for black youth, including the impact of handling racism on a daily basis, issues like poverty and the biased way in which their expressions of anxiety or depression are interpreted," she said in a Twitter question-and-answer session. "But one thing the report points out is that there's not enough research centered on #BlackYouthMentalHealth."
Coleman said the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration haven't spent enough time and money researching the issue and developing ways to fix the problem.
The report recommended more funding for research, establishing best practices for addressing the needs of black youth, greater community engagement and awareness, data collection on black youth suicidal behaviors, and better engagement with state and local governments.
"I want people to understand what's happening in our community, to know that there are tools out there -- and we're working at the federal level so that there are more -- and to pass that info on," Coleman said.