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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas City-area therapist is speaking out about the number of Black youth dying by suicide. It’s being called a growing crisis.

The major finding was part of a task force report by the Congressional Black Caucus.

“Mental health is a serious thing, especially in the Black community where it’s overlooked so much,” said Frank Savory, of Savory and Sons Funeral Home. “We consider ourselves some of the strongest people, in all actuality, even the strong get weak at times. We have to be more aware. There are signs there.”

Terrianna Boone was only 14-years-old. The Northeast High School student was set to turn 15 next month.

Her mother said she doesn’t know exactly what lead her daughter to take her own life.

Other family members of Boone say the warning signs were also missed.

“It’s been rough. She was a happy person. She was always happy,” said Jannette Davis, Boone’s mother.

Suicide rates among Black youth are increasing faster than any other racial or ethnic group according to CBC report.

Shantai McCray is the owner and therapist ad Life’s Work Counseling and Consulting offers specialty support.
She says it can be difficult for young Black people to seek help.

Research also shows Black and Brown children are less likely to receive mental health services.

“Maybe we are taught to talk about those things and deal with those things in church, maybe we’re taught to talk about those things and deal with those things inside of our families, but it’s definitely something that continues to be an issue in our community,” McCray said.

Studies show racism, bullying, trauma tied to violence are all playing roles in the higher rate of suicide among Black youth.

McCray also points at social media, too.

“There are tons of things on social media that are completely unhealthy for our children. Maybe they are searching things about death and dying,” McCray said. “Anytime you notice a difference in eating habits and sleeping patterns, sometimes it might show up as irritability or anger, could be used as a mask for sadness.”

Since the pandemic began in early 2020, McCray said she has seen an increase in number of potential clients of color who say they need help. While she’s encouraged, she says there is still a lot of work to do.

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