Two papers co-authored by Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor Michael A. Lindsey that shed light on the crisis of Black youth suicide have been tapped for prestigious accolades.
The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) named the article Black Youth Suicide: Investigation of Current Trends and Precipitating Circumstances one of its Editors’ Best of 2022. The study found a significant upward trend in suicide among Black youth from 2003-2017, with the largest annual percentage change among the 15- to 17-year age group and among girls. Common precipitating circumstances of suicide among Black youth included mental health problems, relationship problems, interpersonal trauma and life stressors, and prior suicidal thoughts and/or behavior, with some differences by sex and age group. The study was led by Dr. Arielle H. Sheftall, who was a principal investigator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) at Nationwide Children's Hospital and is now at the University of Rochester Medical Center. In addition to Dr. Lindsey, the paper’s co-authors are Fatima Vakil, Dr. Donna A. Ruch, and Dr. Jeffrey Bridge of CSPR and Dr. Rhonda C. Boyd of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
In the introduction to the Editors’ Best of 2022, JAACAP Editor Dr. Douglas K. Novins and his co-editors wrote that Sheftall et al. “crucially focus on the crisis of Black youth suicide, as disparities continue to persist in identification, assessment, and treatment of this group of children. They thoughtfully explore the barriers specific to Black youth, identifying systemic racism and discrimination as crucial lenses through which to view the challenges faced by Black children.”
Separately, the Society for Social Work and Research recognized the article “Factors Associated with Distinct Patterns of Suicidal Thoughts, Suicide Plans, and Suicide Attempts Among US Adolescents, published in Prevention Science, with its 2023 Excellence in Research Award Honorable Mention. The study discerns patterns in suicide-related behavior over the prior 12 months reported by high school students who responded to the CDC’s 2015, 2017, and 2019 National Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. A key finding is that Black high school students were almost twice as likely as White students to attempt suicide without reporting any thoughts or plans beforehand. The authors cited the need for future research into other potential warning signs of suicidality in Black youth to alert providers of the need for intervention.
The study was led by Dr. Meghan B. Romanelli, PhD ’20, who was an NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research Faculty Affiliate and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Additional co-authors of the paper are Dr. Sheftall, McSilver Institute Research Assistant Tracy M. Grogan, and Sireen B. Irsheid, a doctoral student at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.
A leading scholar in child and adolescent mental health, Dr. Lindsey’s research has revealed and raised awareness of the crisis of Black youth suicide. In addition to conducting his own research, he led the working group of experts supporting the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health, which created the report “Ring the Alarm: the Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America.”