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Friday, December 3, 2021

Meet Genesis, a high school student in New York

This is an Education Briefing, a weekly update on the most important news in US education. Subscribe here to receive this newsletter by email.

Today we are spending time with a high school student in New York City as we overcome the pandemic and discuss higher suicide rates among black children.

My colleagues Eliza Shapiro and Gabriela Bhaskar spent six months with Genesis Duran, one of more than a million New York students who survived the pandemic.

When personal teaching ended in March 2020, Genesis was a sophomore. During the pandemic, she helped her younger sister Maya manage the kindergarten and also tried to get through the most important year of her own academic life.

The girls did not make it back to class this spring because their mother was worried about the virus. Distance learning was difficult.

“It only gets worse in front of the screen every day,” Genesis said in March.

To help Maya learn to read and keep her occupied, Genesis recorded voice memos of how she reads stories. Genesis would often move Maya’s desk closer to her bedroom during class in case her sister needed help.

“I must remember that I am not her mother, I am her sister,” Genesis said.

In the summer, thanks to vaccines, her area, Washington Heights, opened. As the days grew warmer, Genesis and her friends roamed the city, diving into different areas with a single swipe of their MetroCard.

“That’s why we live in New York to explore it,” Genesis said. “You don’t need money, you just need to get on the train.”

The Delta option quickly overshadowed it. After taking intensive online architecture classes, she found herself sleeping until noon for many days. It seemed as if all the responsibilities and stress of the previous 18 months were collapsing at once.

This fall, Genesis returned to class as a high school student. To cope with the anxiety of going back to school, she volunteered to start class discussions and helped her friends cope with the breakups.

“As soon as the first day of the first period started, we returned,” she said.

Now that high school is drawing to a close, Genesis is staring at college. She will be the first person in the family to attend the event and she wants to leave New York. Observing Maya prepared her to handle the heavy workload.

“I feel like the city is very distracting,” she said. “I feel like if I stay, a lot of people will expect something from me.”

Here is the complete story, which contains other wonderful photos of Gabriela.

Black children are more likely to be suicidal than their peers from certain other racial groups. But research funding and prevention programs have been lagging behind.

Michael Lindsay, who was the first to document the increasing trend in suicide attempts among black teenagers, says that suicide and mental illness are often viewed as “white phenomena.”

If you look only at the rough numbers, it may seem to be true: the number of white suicide deaths far exceeds the number of black deaths. Among adolescents and young adults, suicide rates remain the highest among whites, Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

But recently, the suicide rate among these groups has declined. Among black youth, it continued to rise, with the suicide rate of black boys and men aged 15-24 increasing by 47 percent from 2013 to 2019, and by 59 percent among black girls and women of the same age.

These numbers are likely even higher for young black people who identify as LGBTQ.

Now, legislators and academics are pushing for better research, especially in light of new evidence suggesting that black children may have unique risk factors.

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Suicide questionnaires usually ask if people have suicidal thoughts or are planning to harm themselves. But one study published in September found that black teens we surveyed were more likely than white teens to try to commit suicide without first having suicidal thoughts or plans.

Their triggers can be different too. A government study last year found that young black youths who died by suicide were more likely than whites to experience a crisis two weeks before they died.

There is also a shortage of black psychotherapists: according to a report by the American Psychological Association, in 2015, blacks made up 13 percent of the US population, but only 4 percent of US psychologists.

Many black children face chronic stressors, including neighborhood violence and food insecurity. The researchers found that young people in communities with high levels of poverty were more likely to commit suicide.

“You have to bring culture to it, you have to talk about racism, you have to talk about discrimination,” said Ariel Sheftall, a renowned suicide researcher. “This is what black youth experience every single day.”

School management


And the rest …

After the pandemic, students promoted mental health days at school.

Counties across the country are extending Thanksgiving break to give children and staff time to recuperate. In December, schools in Detroit will stop working on Fridays, in part due to mental health problems.

As the number of mental health days increased, my colleagues at the Well Desk asked readers how they made their vacation rewarding. Many have shared their adult strategies. Holly Roberson from Berkeley, California, suggested one for the baby.

“My 13-year-old soccer-obsessed son asked me to skip school for a mental health day,” Holly wrote. “He spent the day in bed sipping hot chocolate and working on the script for the musical. He said it was the best day of his life. “

That’s all for this newsletter. Hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving and see you next week!

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World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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