Our Why

In 2018, for the first time in the history of such research, the rate of suicides for Black children between the ages of five and 12 has exceeded that of white children, and more than a third of elementary school-aged suicides involved Black children.

Compared with general populations, African Americans are less likely to be offered evidence-based medication therapy or psychotherapy.

According to The American Psychiatric Association, mental health disorders are among the top most costly health conditions for adults 18-64 in the U.S. along with cancer and trauma related disorders.

Compared with whites, African Americans are less likely to receive guideline consistent care, less frequently included in research, more likely to use emergency rooms or primary care rather than mental health specialists.


Over 70 percent of youth with major depression are still in need of treatment.

According to the Mental Health America State of America 2020 report, the increase in these mental health issues was found to be sharpest after 2011, indicating a cultural shift that has created a mental health crisis for youth in the United States. While ensuring that youth with mental health conditions have greater access to care is vitally important, the only way to address the rising prevalence of mental health conditions in youth is to address the upstream causes on a population level. States must invest time and resources into researching and understanding the causes for the drastic worsening of mental health in youth ages 12-17 and generating meaningful and effective policies and programs to address mental health concerns before they reach the point of becoming a diagnosable mental health condition. States also must develop a framework for addressing youth mental health in schools and other systems that directly interact with youth. For example, state should create a framework for addressing mental health through implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Racial/ethnic minority groups with behavioral health issues are more readily referred to the juvenile justice system than to specialty primary care, compared with white youth, minorities are also most likely to end up in the juvenile justice system due to harsh disciplinary suspension and expulsion practices in schools. (American Psychiatric Association)

Physician-patient communication differs for African Americans and Whites. One study found that physicians were 23% more verbally dominant and 33% less patient centered in communication with African American patients than white patients.

Black people with mental health conditions, particularly schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and other psychoses are more likely to be incarcerated than people of other races.

Barriers to care in the African American community include the importance of family privacy, lack of knowledge regarding available treatment, denial of mental health problems, concerns of stigma, medications, not receiving appropriate information about services, dehumanizing services has also been reported to hinder African Americans from accessing mental health services.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health's study on Intersectionality and Social Marginalization of Self-Reported health Statuses of young people found that the more intersectionality encountered (ie. sexuality, poverty, ethnicity, refugee, or rural) the more at risk they would be and vulnerable they would be for mental health and other poor health outcomes.

A published study in the American Journal of Orthnopsychiatry and the Journal of The Society of Social Work and Research find that improving mental health for young people will require many changes including training providers to closely consider the mental health narrative while assessing developmental treatment plans and symptoms. The research team believes it is critical to keep young adults engaged and invested in their own healing.

As a repercussion of not addressing mental health in society of connecting with an individual so that the patient will remain engaged in treatment, it costs America 193 billion dollars in lost earnings per year according to NAMI.

According to the Center for American Progress, mental healthcare was already inequitable and then came the coronavirus. In 2016 11.8 million Americans had an expressed need for mental health services that went unmet 38 percent could not afford the cost of treatment.

According to the Mental Health America State of America 2020 report, youth mental health is worsening and more major depression episodes (MDE) have been occurring.


Less than 1% of students in the US are identified with emotional disturbance despite the millions of youth with depression and severe impairment as a result.

Barriers to care include lack of insurance and underinsurance, mental illness stigma often greater in minority populations, lack of diversity among mental health care providers, lack of culturally competent providers, language barriers, distrust for the health care system, and inadequate support for mental health service safety net for most vulnerable patients. (American Psychiatric Association)

27% of African Americans live below the poverty line in comparison with non-Hispanic whites (10.8%)

Approximately 11% of African Americans are not covered by health insurance compared with 7% for non Hispanic whites.

Rates of mental illnesses in African Americans are similar with those of the general population however, disparities exist in regard to mental health care services. African Americans often receive poorer quality of care and lack access to culturally competent care.

Only one in three African Americans Who need mental health care receive it. 

SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic  school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

Only 6.2 percent of psychologists, 5.6 percent of advanced-practice psychiatric nurses, 12.6 percent of social workers, and 21.3 percent of psychiatrists are members of minority groups.

In research studies, Black people have indicated that mild depression or anxiety would be viewed as “crazy” in their social circles. Many of those interviewed also believe that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family.

Compared with whites with the same symptoms, African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and less frequently with mood disorders. Differences in how African Americans express symptoms of emotional distress may contribute to misdiagnosis.