Request for Information: Guidance on Current Research on the Prevention of Black Youth Suicide
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

October 15, 2020

Response Date:
January 15, 2021

Related Announcements

NOT-MH-20-055 - Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) in Research on Risk and Prevention of Black Youth Suicide

Issued by

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


This Request for Information (RFI) seeks input from a variety of stakeholders including researchers, healthcare providers, community leaders, and individuals from other relevant organizations (e.g., schools, social welfare, justice, faith communities) around the risks for and prevention of death by suicide and suicidal ideation and behaviors (SIB) of Black children and adolescents. Specifically, this RFI seeks information on topics of epidemiology, etiology, trajectories, preventive interventions, treatment interventions, and services interventions.


Over the past several years, there has been a significant increase in the rate of suicide and suicidal ideation and behaviors (SIB) among Black youth. From 2001 to 2015, Black youth under 13 were twice as likely to die by suicide compared to their White peers, and the suicide death rate among Black youth was found to be increasing faster than any other racial/ethnic group. In response to these trends, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) convened an  Emergency Taskforce in 2019 to examine Black youth suicide and mental health. In December 2019, the Taskforce released its report, Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America, which summarized key epidemiological and clinical findings about Black youth suicide, and provided several research, practice, and policy recommendations for addressing the crisis. Included in the recommendations were suggestions for more research related to Black youth suicide and mental health, particularly related to: the identification of risk and protective factors for suicidal behaviors among Black and Black LGBTQ+SGL youth, research on mental health utilization and engagement in treatment for depression and suicide risk detection, and evidence-based interventions that are developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for Black children and adolescents.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and the NIH Office of Disease Prevention, responded to the CBC report with a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) in Research on Risk and Prevention of Black Youth Suicide (NOT-MH-20-055). Since the June 2020 NOSI was released, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, as have its significant socioeconomic and psychosocial effects. The public health impact of COVID-19 is especially significant among populations that already experience health disparities. In addition, recent episodes of police violence against Black people in the U.S. have contributed to a heightened awareness of and sensitivity to the impact of racism and inequity on Black children and adolescents’ mental health and SIB.

Information Requested

This RFI seeks information from the community on practical, and/or innovative approaches to improve understanding of Black youth suicide risk, as well as research to expand needed evidence-based preventive programs and services as described in the CBC report. This RFI also seeks information on additional topics that stakeholders view as relevant to research on Black child and adolescent suicide prevention.

Examples of topics that could be addressed are provided below, organized by each of the recommendations listed in the CBC report. This list of example topics that could be addressed is not exhaustive; information on relevant topics that extend beyond this list are encouraged. Respondents are free to address any or all topics listed below, and are encouraged, for each topic addressed, to describe examples of how NIMH might address the topic through research.

  1. Risk and protective factors for suicidal behaviors among Black children and adolescents.
  1. The effect of social media usage on Black children and adolescents and Black LGBTQ+SGL youth.
  1. Mental health “motivation,” in terms of factors that facilitate service utilization and engagement among Black youth with an emphasis on examining motivation for mental health treatment.
  1. Practical, systemic, and cultural barriers to and facilitators of treatment.
  1. The effectiveness of depression screenings by professionals across health care professions and institutions for helping to identify Black children and adolescents at risk for suicide.
  1. Evidence-based interventions relating to mental health and suicide risk; in particular, those that are age-appropriate, and culturally and linguistically appropriate for Black youth.
  1. Evidence-based interventions and best practices for clinicians, school personnel, teachers, parents and others who interact with Black youth and Black LGBTQ+SGL youth in school settings, to improve equitable mental health treatment and identification of youth at risk for suicide, SIB, and other harmful mental health outcomes.
  1. Evidence-based interventions that show the effect of placing mental health professionals in schools.
  1. Evidence-based approaches and practice-based evidence on alternatives to traditional policing and judicial practices to improve equitable mental health treatment and identification of youth at risk for suicide, SIB, and other harmful mental health outcomes.
  1. Describe any additional research needs, including innovations that could improve existing programs or services, or innovative approaches, that have the potential to reduce Black youth suicide risk.

Submitting a Response

For consideration, comments must be submitted electronically via the NIH RFI website. Comments must be received by January 15, 2021. Response to this RFI is voluntary and may be submitted anonymously. While not required, NIMH strongly encourages respondents to include their name, the organization they are representing, and their role in the organization. The submitted information will be reviewed by NIH staff.

This request is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government. The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information.

The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. However, responses to the RFI may be reflected in future Funding Opportunity Announcements. The information provided will be analyzed and may be aggregated in reports. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).


Please direct all inquiries to:

Crystal L. Barksdale, PhD, MPH

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


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