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Health equity

APA shines light on Black youth mental health crisis

APA joined Sound the Alarm for Kids and the Congressional Black Caucus to inform policymakers of the psychological impact of social determinants of health on Black child and adolescent mental health.

Cite this
Rennie, L. (2022, March 30). APA shines light on Black youth mental health crisis.

Black teen male in group therapy

On March 21, Kelly Haynes-Mendez, PsyD, acting senior director of the Human Rights Team and director of the Ethnicity, Race, and Cultural Affairs Portfolio at APA, shared psychological knowledge and expertise at a roundtable discussion spotlighting Black youth mental health, hosted by Sound the Alarm for Kids in coordination with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). 

Haynes-Mendez called for more long-term, sustainable investments across the board for increasing and diversifying the educator workforce—from teachers to a full complement of culturally competent school-based mental health professionals. She urged the CBC and Congress to ensure that existing and newly funded programs respond to the life circumstances of Black children, adolescents, and families. 

The discussion, titled “A National Emergency in Youth Mental Health: Strengthening Supports and Access to Care for Black Kids and Teens,” (PDF, 1.43MB) addressed the national emergency in child and adolescent mental health and steps that can be taken to ensure Black children and their families have access to culturally and developmentally appropriate prevention and treatment services. Haynes-Mendez discussed the impact of social determinants, workforce diversity, and school mental health programs. 

Black youth in the United States experience significant illness, poverty, and discrimination. These issues put them at higher risk for suicide, depression, and other mental health problems. Yet Black youth are less likely to seek treatment due to stigmas well as structural issues such as the lack of readily available, culturally appropriate, and evidence-based early intervention and a severe shortage of diverse mental health professionals. 

Watch the webinar online.

For more information, contact Leo Rennie.