Excerpt from Tuesday Newsday – Mental Health News by the National Alliance Mental Health (NAMI) North Carolina

Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 2008 to start changing this.

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition.

For instance, as 12 percent of the population, African Americans are the second largest ethnic minority, but they often receive disproportionately less and lower quality care than other communities for both medical and mental health services.

Despite the needs, only one in three Black or African American adults who need mental health care receive it. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for African Americans guide, African Americans are:

  • Less likely to receive guideline-consistent care
  • Less frequently included in research
  • ​More likely to use emergency rooms or primary care (rather than mental health specialists)

As part of a focus on communities of color in July, this week, Thursdays with NAMI focuses on suicide among black youths. (See article below for more information.) In honor of Minority Mental Health Month, we will be focusing on mental health awareness in various minority communities throughout this month.

More information about mental health in the African American community can be found here.

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Why Are We Losing More Black Teens to Suicide?

The rate of suicide among Black youths is increasing faster than any other racial or ethnic group. Suicide attempts by Black adolescents rose 73% from 1991 to 2017. Injuries from attempted suicides increased 122% for Black boys during the same period.

What’s being done in North Carolina to stem the tide? Enter Fonda Bryant, suicide survivor and force of nature, and our guest of Thursdays with NAMI this week.

Fonda is a certified QPR Suicide Prevention Instructor and has personally trained 600 people from 22 states in just two months. Prior to that, she helped bring about such projects as “Scoring for Mental Health” with former NFL and Super Bowl Champion Keith O’Neill and “Hockey Talks” Mental Health Night at Canes games in 2019 and 2020. When she learned suicides were common in Charlotte parking garages, she persuaded owners to invest in posters promoting the message of “You Are Not Alone” and including the Suicide Prevention Hotline. Please join us for this important discussion.

Thursdays with NAMI starts at 7pm and is free and open to all, but registration is required. To register and view the schedule for future sessions, please click HERE .

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