Year: 2022 Source: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal SIEC No: 20221013

Prior suicide attempt serves as one of the strongest predictors of future suicide attempt and risk for death by suicide among youth. Disparities, however, persist in determining which groups have access to services following an attempt. Thus, we compare the experiences of Black youth with a history of lifetime suicide attempt to youth from other race groups who also attempted suicide in efforts to identify both gaps in treatment and promising opportunities for prevention and intervention. This study is a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from 7704 youth ages 12–17 who participated in the 2004–2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The NSDUH is a national survey of households in the US. Cross-race and within-group sex comparisons for Black youth were assessed across 24 separate indicators of mental health service utilization, school engagement, and religious involvement. Findings indicate that 35.83% of Black youth with a history of lifetime suicide attempt received treatment from a therapist within the past year, while nearly 52% of White youth reported receiving treatment from a therapist within this same timeframe. Notably, 57% of Black youth who attempted suicide were insured through Medicaid or CHIP, though Asian, Multiracial and White youth were more likely to have private insurance. Forty percent of Black youth who previously attempted suicide strongly agreed that their religious beliefs were important to them; this percentage is far greater than reports provided by youth from all other race groups. Black youth also attended religious services more often when compared to youth of other races. Black boys with a history of lifetime suicide attempt were less likely to report seeing a therapist within the past year relative to Black girls. Suicide prevention interventions should integrate concepts that are most important to Black youth to ensure that mental health services are culturally salient, economically feasible, and readily accessible.