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Young Black people dying by suicide on the rise for the first time in history

Experts look at reasons why
Posted at 6:23 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 13:10:15-05

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (WXYZ) — They say death comes in threes.

First, 26-year-old Ian Alexander Jr., son of Academy Award-winning actress Regina King, died by suicide. One week later, former Miss America winner Chelsie Kryst took her life at the age of 30. On Monday, 31-year-old "Walking Dead" actor Moses Moseley reportedly died from a suspected suicide.

Dr. Brian Ahmedani, the director of Behavioral Health Services Research at Henry Ford Health Systems, says the age range and race of the three young adults isn't a coincidence.

“More so than any other demographic group, we’ve seen this major increase among young Black adolescence and young adults, which is very new and really hasn’t happened in the history of the USA,” Ahmedani said.

“Their mental health is really challenged at this time,” said Patrece Lucas, a licensed mental health counselor.

Lucas says Black millennials and Gen Z are in a unique situation because up until this point in history, Black people have been in survival mode but now, many have a chance to thrive.

“And so you take that deep breathe and you start feeling and you start seeing things and it doesn’t sit well with them,” Lucas said.

“I was just really, really sad sometimes,” Claricha Foster said.

Despite having a 4.0 GPA and a two-parent financially stable household, she was struggling with her mental health in silence until she reached a breaking point.

Foster says she saw one of her Facebook friends posting about going to therapy, so she decided to give it a try. It's a resource she was hesitant about because of the stigma. But now, she’s an advocate of therapy and received her masters degree in it to help others.

“That’s how we get ahead of it, not just the individual counseling but the group counseling. It’s the workshops, it's talking about mental health,” Lucas said.

Lucas has several community-based organizations aimed at supporting Black mental health like Coffee with a Counselor and Where do Black Women go to grieve?

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, call 800-273-8255.