NYU McSilver Institute’s mission to disrupt the root causes of poverty includes a focus on health disparities, particularly research, programs and policy development to address trends in suicide and mental health disparities. We are distinguished by our success in translating the new knowledge we uncover into action, through policy.
Scroll through the timeline below for highlights of our achievements.
September 16, 2021Troubling Trends in Black Youth Suicide Illuminated in New Podcast Series
Saving Young Black Lives: Reversing Suicide Trends features interviews with a survivor, parent affected by suicide, a pro athlete and mental health experts. Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, former Executive Director of the McSilver Institute, hosted the series in partnership with the Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (Central East MHTTC).
September 14, 2021Study: Blacks Teens More Likely to Report Suicide Attempts in Absence of Thoughts, Plans
Black high school students are almost two times as likely as White students to attempt suicide without reporting any thoughts or plans beforehand, according to a new study in Prevention Science published online this month. The study also found that online bullying, misusing prescription opiates, and experiencing sexual violence increase likelihood teens will not only think about suicide, but also attempt it. Lead author Meghan Romanelli is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington and a Faculty Affiliate of the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.
May 13, 2021McSilver Hails US House Passage of Mental Health Equity Act
An important milestone in mental health equity was reached when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, New Jersey) and Rep. John Katko (R, New York), on a bipartisan basis. It had passed the House in 2020 and was reintroduced in the 2021 Congress.
March 18, 2021McSilver’s Step-Up Gives Mental Health Testimony to NYC Council
NYU McSilver submitted testimony to the New York City Council Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions about “Step-Up,” our youth development and mental health support program serving New York City Department of Education schools. For over 12 years, Step-Up helped transform the lives of at least 800 students, with a graduation rate of 97 percent. Testimony included the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of high school students, and how Step-Up addressed the challenges young people face.
February 24, 2021McSilver Executive Director Co-Authors Study Showing Depression Treatment Racial Gap
Caregivers involved in the child welfare system often struggle with depression, yet those who are Black get the least amount of help, as revealed in a study published online in Academic Pediatrics, of which former McSilver Institute Executive Director Dr. Michael A. Lindsey is a co-author.
September 29, 2020The Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act Passed by the House of Representatives
The Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act authorized more than $805 million in grants and other funding to support research, improve the pipeline of culturally competent providers, build outreach programs that reduce stigma, and develop a training program for providers to effectively manage disparities.
September 8, 2020McSilver Testifies to NY State Assembly on COVID-19 Mental Health Impacts
The New York State Assembly’s Standing Committee on Mental Health held a hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with mental illness or intellectual or developmental disability, and former McSilver Institute Executive Director Dr. Michael A. Lindsey submitted written testimony highlighting the needs of vulnerable populations and special role schools play in child mental health. “Who knows how many needs are being unmet among our state’s youth of color, particularly after the disruptions to life and economic well-being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic?” asked Dr. Lindsey’s testimony.
July 27, 2020Congressional Black Caucus Holds Mental Health Town Hall
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman opened the conversation with a dedication to the late Rep. John Lewis. Panelists included Dr. Michael A. Lindsey; Dr. Theopia Jackson; President of the Association of Black Psychologists; Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant, Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church; and Dr. Donna Holland Barnes, CEO of DHB Wellness and Associates, LLC. Rep. Hank Johnson also offered remarks. The wide-ranging conversation touched on trends in Black mental health, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. “If you experience mental health issues, they can affect you physically. They can weaken your immune system and relate to all kinds of health outcomes,” explained Dr. Lindsey.
July 22, 2020NYU McSilver Gets Added NIMH Funding to Study Engagement by Youth of Color in Depression Treatment
The McSilver Institute received additional funding for its three-year research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study the effectiveness of a novel treatment intervention for keeping Black adolescents engaged in depression treatment. The additional funding was received through a diversity research supplement application submitted by former NYU Provost’s Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow Carolina Vélez-Grau, PHD, LCSW, and will expand the population sample for the study to include Latinx youth.
July 20, 2020AFSP Virtual Town Hall Focuses on Suicide Prevention and Communities of Color
In a virtual town hall hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Dr. Michael A. Lindsey joined psychologist Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble and Fred Sandoval, who is Executive Director of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association. The AFSP’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christine Moutier moderated the discussion.
July 13, 2020FCC Commissioner Cites 988 Vote, Need for Black Mental Healthcare Access
Days before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a plan to establish 988 as a suicide prevention hotline, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks hosted on online discussion about the roles that communications technology and media can play to address Black mental healthcare needs. After opening remarks by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, former McSilver Institute Executive Director Dr. Michael A. Lindsey joined a panel of leaders and experts moderated by A. Prince Albert III, a Technology and Telecommunications Fellow at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
April 21, 2020NIMH Hosts Webinar on Black Youth Suicide
NYU McSilver Institute’s former Executive Director Dr. Michael A. Lindsey participated in a webinar hosted by the the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity, in collaboration with the Office of Behavioral Health Equity at SAMHSA. During this 90-minute interactive roundtable, panelists answered pressing questions about Black youth suicide and mental health.
January, 2020New York State Office of Mental Health Taps McSilver for Suicide Prevention Strategies
The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) announced in January 2020 that it had begun working with Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, former Executive Director of the McSilver Institute, and its staff, “to develop strategies related to black youth suicide prevention. Utilizing the report, ‘Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America,’ a report to Congress from the Congressional Black Caucus and the Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health as a starting point, Dr. Lindsey and OMH will collaborate on incorporating the unique needs of this population into the curriculum for mental health education in schools, a public awareness campaign utilizing the Center for Practice Innovations public facing portal, reviewing the evidence-based practice curriculum in higher education for social work, and additional public awareness efforts launched by OMH. In addition, the [OMH Suicide Prevention Office] will review existing school-based clinics and encourage the expansion of those clinics into underserved communities.”
December 17, 2019“Ring the Alarm: the Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America” Report Released by the Emergency Taskforce
Following months of listening events and meetings in Washington, DC and across multiple Congressional districts, the Congressional Black Caucus’s Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health released a report, “Ring The Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health”.
October 14, 2019“Trends of Suicidal Behaviors among High School Students in the United States: 1991-2017” Published in Pediatrics
Adding to what is known about the growing crisis of suicide among American teens, a team led by researchers at the NYU McSilver Institute uncovered several troubling trends over two decades of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), especially among Black high school students. Their findings were published in the November 2019 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and released with an accompanying video abstract.
June 4, 2019New York State Senate Public Hearing on Suicide and Prevention
Former NYU McSilver 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.
April 30, 2019The Congressional Black Caucus Launches an Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) launched a new, emergency taskforce focused on the growing problem of suicide and access to mental health care among Black youth. Chaired by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), the CBC Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health aimed to identify causes and solutions, and the Taskforce empowered a working group of academic and practicing experts led by Dr. Michael A. Lindsey and the NYU McSilver Institute. Rep. Watson Coleman hosted the taskforce launch at the U.S. House of Representatives, at which CBC Chair Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA).
March 19, 2019McSilver Receives NIMH Grant to Study Engagement by Black Adolescents in Depression Treatment
The McSilver Institute received a three-year research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study the effectiveness of a novel treatment intervention for keeping Black adolescents engaged in depression treatment. Rates of engagement and completion of depression treatments are lower for Black adolescents than for White teens, in part due to negative perceptions about services and providers, and as well as a reluctance to admit to symptoms. The Making Connections Intervention (MCI) has been devised to address barriers to engagement, in youth, as well as their caregivers.
December 6, 2018Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman Hosts “Racial Disparity in Mental Health – the Need for Inclusion in Research and Resources”
During a congressional staff briefing at the U.S. Capitol hosted by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, former NYU McSilver Executive Director Dr. Michael A. Lindsey called for a new nation-wide initiative to better address racial disparities in mental health. “What we need is to create a national taskforce to really look at this issue for that particular demographic and really try to understand the reasons why black boys are committing suicide at higher rates than any other group in that age category,” said Dr. Lindsey.
More Information About Black Youth, Suicide, and Mental Health
- Suicide rates doubled between the years 1993 and 2011 for Black youth ages 5-11 years old, with Black boys being twice as likely to die by suicide as White boys in the same age group, according to a 2018 study led by epidemiologist Jeff Bridge.
- Meanwhile, suicide rates for White youth and other racial/ethnic groups actually decreased over that time period.
- The mental health needs of Black youth are not being adequately met. A study led by Dr. Lindsey that was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health revealed that 50 percent of 465 ninth-grade Black adolescents surveyed had mental health needs, but only 20 percent of those Black youth received treatment.
- Schools have a crucial role to play in addressing the mental health needs of Black youth since that is where they spend a significant amount of time. There should be mental health providers in every school, proportionate to the number of students.
- As Dr. Lindsey addresses in an article he co-wrote in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, mental health problems may be externalized by youth as behavioral or discipline problems, with African American male youth being 3 times more likely to be suspended than their White male counterparts. An end to school suspensions and expulsions and greater focus on the mental health of Black youth would help to address this disparity.
Learn more about the McSilver Institute’s research and solutions relating to mental health and behavioral health.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or go here to chat online.