The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in collaboration with the HHS/Office of Minority Health, hosted a NNED Virtual Roundtable, Creating Supportive Systems to Improve Mental Health Outcomes for Young African American Boys: An Urgent Conversation, to increase awareness about the mental health needs and vulnerabilities of African American boys and about culturally appropriate mental health promotion and early intervention strategies. The event
While childhood suicide is rare, a recent analysis concluded that “among children aged 5 to 12 years, black children had a significantly higher incidence of suicide than white children.” (Bridge, et al., 2018) As part of a call for action, the Virtual Roundtable featured national experts discussing cross-system approaches for developing workforce and community service capacity to address the negative mental health trend for African American boys. Panelists shared ways emerging data is influencing work in early childhood settings, family and community systems, policy, and research.
Participants learned about strategies for mental health promotion and early intervention that can be replicated in their respective communities.
Bridge JA, Horowitz LM, Fontanella CA, et al. Age-Related Racial Disparity in Suicide Rates Among US Youths From 2001 Through 2015. JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(7):697–699. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.0399
Because there were more questions than time allowed us to answer, we invite you to join a follow-up call with presenters at 11:00 AM ET on Friday, September 28, when you’ll have an opportunity to continue the conversation. To join the call, dial:
Telephone number: 1-888-677-0241
Participant code: 2684339#
If you have questions you would like to have answered during the September 28 call, please send them to OMHMedia@hhs.gov with the subject: Virtual Roundtable
Dr. Rosemarie Allen | Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver
Rosemarie Allen, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her classes are focused on ensuring teachers are aware of how issues of equity, bias, privilege, and power impact teaching practices. She is also the founder and CEO of the Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence (IREE) which serves as the lead agency for ensuring equity in educational practices. Dr. Allen’s life’s work is focused on reducing the number of children of color suspended and expelled from early childhood programs.
Rosemarie has served in directorship roles with the Colorado Department of Human Services where she was responsible for the State’s child care licensing program, the federal child care assistance program, the redesign of the State’s quality rating and improvement system, the implementation of the State’s professional development plan, and assisted in the creation of Colorado’s early learning guidelines. Rosemarie serves on the Pyramid Equity Program team, is a respected keynote speaker, and has the distinct honor of being appointed as a “Global Leader” representing the United States at World Conferences. Dr. Allen also served on President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) initiative, Early Childhood Task Force. In that role, she was the national expert on implicit bias and culturally responsive practices, speaking at conferences across the country. Rosemarie earned her B. A. from California State University, Masters of Education from Lesley University and Doctorate Degree in Leadership for Equity in Education from the University of Colorado, Denver.
Dr. Jeffrey Bridge | Director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research, Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Principal Investigator at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s
Jeffrey Bridge, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research in the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. His research focuses on the epidemiology of suicidal behavior in young people, neurocognitive vulnerability to suicidal behavior, screening for suicide risk in medical settings, and on improving the quality of care for suicidal youth.
Dr. Derrick Gordon | Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, Director of the Program on Male Development, Core scientist in the Community Research Core of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA)
Derrick Gordon, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology Section) at Yale University School of Medicine, is the Director of the Program on Male Development in the Division of Prevention and Community Research of the Department of Psychiatry, and is a Core scientist in the Community Research Core of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA). Dr. Gordon has considerable experience in intervention and prevention development having served as an investigator on several federal, NIH, and state-funded projects and studies focused on those factors that either support or undermine men transitioning from prison back to the community; the engagement of low-income, non-custodial fathers; the identification and service of adolescent fathers committed to child protection services; and men mandated to batterer intervention groups in the community. He is currently a co-investigator and a minority supplement recipient on an NIH funded project that examines the STI risk of heterosexual young men to their pregnant female partners. As part of his supplement, Dr. Gordon is interested in understanding how the young men use preventive health care services and the factors that either facilitate or inhibit their access. Dr. Gordon’s work with men has and continues to focus on increasing the health of men and their positive involvement in family and community life. In his mentorship role, pre- and postdoctoral fellows get to explore with Dr. Gordon how issues like adolescent fatherhood, low-income fatherhood status, transitioning from prison to the community, and men’s access and use of health care services impact their efforts to be healthy community members. Overall Dr. Gordon in his research seeks to identify those factors that enhance the access and use of preventive and indicated health care services by men on the “fringes.”
Dr. Gail Mattox | Professor and Chair at the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Gail Mattox, M.D., currently serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with board certification in psychiatry and sub-specialty board certification in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is a graduate of Meharry Medical College and completed psychiatry training at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Mattox is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Mattox is also a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society.
In addition to teaching, patient care, community service and administrative duties, Dr. Mattox was instrumental in obtaining grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to establish the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Center for Excellence in Behavioral Health. This Center of Excellence, located in the Department of Psychiatry/Cork Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, is designed to promote behavioral health equity and workforce diversity. She currently serves as Project Director.
Reta Stanley | President/CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flint and Genesee County
Reta Stanley is President/CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flint and Genesee County. Stanley has served several decades working to place youth in structured, safe, and empowering mentoring relationships with community role models. Focusing on the needs of vulnerable youth, under her leadership the agency signed on with the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative working to improve literacy and open college and career pathways.
Elijah Wheeler | Acting Director and Social Justice Director of the Montgomery County (MD.) Collaboration Council
Elijah Wheeler serves as both the Acting Director and Social Justice Director of the Montgomery County (MD.) Collaboration Council. The Collaboration Council is a local management board which serves as a quasi-non-profit agency charged with identifying issue areas in the County on behalf of children, youth and families and then working with government and other partners to target resources and supports to the community to redress disparities. In his role as Social Justice Director, he is charged with working alongside County partners to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of people of color who interact with various systems and agencies. He has worked on a number of issues including reducing disproportionate minority contact for youth of color who come into contact with the juvenile justice system and policies to spur the reduction of the school to prison pipeline.
Elijah also serves in the role as chair for Montgomery County’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. He is a 2014/15 National Juvenile Justice Network Y.J.L.I. Fellow Alumni and a 2016 Center for Urban Families Public Leadership Institute Fellow Alumni.
Brandon J. Johnson | Public Health Advisor in the Suicide Prevention Branch, GPO for the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention, GPO National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) Adult Suicide Prevention, GPO for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
Brandon J. Johnson, M.H.S. serves as a Public Health Advisor in the Suicide Prevention Branch at SAMHSA. In this role, Brandon serves as a Government Project Officer for the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention grant program, the Zero Suicide grant program, and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) Adult Suicide Prevention grant program where he is also the Program Manager. Brandon is also the GPO for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) that provides suicide-specific materials, webinars, and training to organizations and communities all over the country working to reduce suicides. Brandon is also the Co-Lead of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Faith Communities Task Force.