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Calculating The Rising Black Youth Mental Health Crisis Costs

By Stephone Coward

  • Suicide rate for Black girls and women ages 10 to 24 increased more than 30% and 23% among Black boys and men in the same age group
  • The mental health industry is estimated to reach $537.9B by 2030

Costs of mental health are beyond dollars; it costs lives which is an incalculable loss. The mental health industry was a $383.31 billion sector in 2020 and is estimated to reach $537.97 billion by 2030. A new CDC report highlighted the suicide rate for Black girls and women ages 10 to 24 increased more than 30% in 2020 and 23% among Black boys and men in the same age group, as the multi-billion mental health sector continues to thrive while leaving some people behind.

Why This Matters: We have moved into both a 24-hour life and news cycle with the aid of technology, and sadly, the only thing that caused the world to slow down is a pandemic that has exacerbated the mental health crisis with Black youth in our country. Amanda Calhoun, MD, MPH, recently wrote, “the mental health of Black American youth was in a crisis long before COVID-19”.

Many young Black boys and girls who already have to deal with the growing pains of youth are also burdened with seeing videos and images of police brutality, social, and racial unrest. The Wall Street Journal reported that “teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression.”

With the aid of technology, the world is constantly on and downtime is no longer a given; it has become a luxury. As social media becomes further integrated into our daily lives, algorithms see to it that users are immersed in content and imagery that is inspiring but also triggering.

Situational Awareness: That said, talking about mental health is no longer as taboo as it once was in the Black community. It’s no longer something that can be “resolved” by telling someone to pray about it. People are now seeking out tools and resources to take care of their mental well-being making the mental health industry more profitable. Capitalism will do what it does best “capitalize.” Hopefully, the mental health epidemic will be dealt with as an indirect result.

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