On Sept. 19, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced via a press release more than $3 million in grants to eight organizations for an initiative focusing on policy effectiveness to promote Black youth mental health (BYMH).
According to the release, the initiative will last for three years and will help identify health and wellness policies that are effective in improving BYMH—including suicide prevention. The awardees will use a policy assessment framework to identify existing policies expected to promote mental health in Black youth and then test the impact of the policies in various settings (schools, faith-based organizations, community centers, health centers, or other community agency settings).
The release says that “In October 2020, HHS released a report to Congress on African American Youth Suicide. The report analyzed National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) data between 2014–2017, to examine the risk and precipitating factors in non-Hispanic Black children and non-Hispanic White children aged 10 to 17, who died by suicide. The report also examined youth suicide demographics and epidemiology, risk factors associated with higher suicide rates among Black compared to white youth, and evidence-based interventions to prevent youth suicide ideation and behavior.”
That said, “The eight new BYMH awardees will conduct their projects across eight states, including Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, and Rhode Island. The project period for the Demonstrating Policy Effectiveness to Promote Black Youth Mental Health initiative begins on September 30, 2022.”
The awardees are:
RDML Felicia Collins, M.D., deputy assistant secretary for minority health is quoted in the release saying that “Over the past decade, Black children under age 13 years are twice as likely to die by suicide compared to their white peers. With this new initiative, we intend to identify specific policies that exhibit a meaningful impact on mental health for Black youth and to spread the word about these effective policy efforts.”
More information on OMH can be accessed here.