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According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.  In 2019, the CDC says there was one suicide death every 11 minutes.  And although there was a slight decrease in suicides overall  in 2020, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center says the numbers increased for young adults as well as for African Americans and for other minority groups.  The Suicide Prevention Resource Center declared in October 2021 that “we are in a state of emergency: what’s behind the rising suicide rate among black kids.”  The Center’s experts said factors such as “limited access to culturally competent mental health care”, racism and discrimination and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on minority communities are contributing factors to the spike.

Please share this number: 988.  The number 988 is the new Suicide Prevention Lifeline number to call, text or chat for anyone experiencing a behavioral health crisis.  The thought is that a 3 digit number is easier for people in crisis to remember.  The transition to the new number started in 2019 and the goal is to have all phone services on board by July of this year. 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is still available as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline as well.

African American churches are the gateway to our community.  Too often, the topic of suicide prevention is popular when there is a high profile individual involved.  There is no shame in discussing mental health and suicide prevention.  Let’s keep the conversation going.