CLEVELAND, Ohio -- An alarming rise of suicide rates among young Black girls has emerged during the coronavirus pandemic, experts said during a mental health roundtable hosted by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood.

The virtual roundtable on Wednesday focused on rising suicide rates across the U.S., and how state and national lawmakers can help to address mental health issues among youth.

“We know this pandemic has been the great revealer. It’s laid bare the structural racism,” Brown said during a virtual roundtable Wednesday. “We have a responsibility to make sure that children and young adults know their full potential.”

In recent years there has been a massive increase in suicide rates among Black youth, and particularly young Black girls, according to a study published by Dr. Arielle Sheftall, one of the guest speakers. Shetfall is a principal investigator in the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute and a professor at the Ohio State University.

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