This post was originally published on Afro
By Tawanda W. Johnson
The high rate of Black youngsters taking their own lives is heart-rending. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, suicide rates among Black youth have risen faster than in other racial/ethnic group during the past two decades, with suicide rates in Black males, ages 10-19 increasing by 60 percent.
“These are disturbing statistics, and we all need to come together to find practical solutions to reverse these negative trends,” said Kerry G. Johnson, vice president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Kappa Phi Lambda Chapter, in Howard County, Md.
To combat the problem, the Alphas focused their annual Harambee Conference – which educates young Black men on crucial life topics – on strategies to cope with life’s stressors. About 150 young men from Howard County high schools attended the March 10 conference titled “Black Mental Health Matters” at Howard Community College. The attendees were participants in the fraternity’s Alpha Achievers program, which helps the young men achieve success in academics, careers and community service through mentorship with the fraternity’s members. The program’s advisers also attended the conference.