McSilver Testifies About Black Youth and Suicide at NY State Senate Public Hearing

Dr. Michael Lindsey speaking on the floor of the New York State legislature.

NEW YORK (June 5, 2019) — The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University continued to ring the alarm about rising suicide rates in Black youth on Tuesday, June 4th.

Our Executive Director, Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, testified at a New York State Senate Joint Public Hearing on Suicide and Prevention before the Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, chaired by Senator David Carlucci; and the Senate Standing Committee on Health, chaired by Senator Gustavo Rivera.

“I urge our elected officials to make a clarion call in support of raising greater awareness to the rising rates of suicide and associated behaviors among Black youth,” said Dr. Lindsey. “New York State has a great opportunity to lead the way for our nation, indeed, the world, in bringing greater attention, committing support for deeper research, and establishing evidence-based or informed strategies to ensure that another Black youth does not attempt or complete suicide here in this great state of New York.

“No longer should any Black youth experience racialized or gendered bullying; the trauma of poverty; the lack of connection to and benefit from school-based mental health and intervention services. No longer should any Black youth be suspended from school without exploration of the antecedent or underlying depression, anxiety, or trauma that goes undetected, yet, co-occurs, often, with irritability, anger, or hostility. These are all addressable circumstances faced by Black youth that might recoil their proclivities toward ideation, plans, attempts, or completed suicide.”

As his testimony drew to a close, Dr. Lindsey stated, “We recommend that New York State lead the nation in establishing the first-ever state-level emergency taskforce to develop policy, research, and intervention recommendations to ensure that no Black youth’s life prematurely ends before it ever begins.”

Also participating in the hearing was Assembly Member Kimberly Jean Pierre, who with Senator Carlucci co-sponsored Bill S.4467/A.6740 to create a suicide prevention task force to determine remedies for improving mental health and suicide prevention among Black children.

You can also read the full text of Dr. Lindsey’s testimony here.

Learn more about NYU McSilver’s work on mental healthcare policy.

Photo of Dr. Michael A. Lindsey
Michael A. Lindsey, PhD, MSW, MPH
Dean of the Silver School of Social Work