Non-profit Knowledge for Life, which holds conferences on issues of importance to the black community in Dayton, is hosting a forum on youth mental health and suicide prevention on May 21. CONTRIBUTED

Community discussion to focus on teen suicide

A panel of experts will discuss ways the community can address youth mental health and prevent teen suicides Tuesday at the Central State Dayton campus.

Knowledge for Life is a nonprofit that hosts monthly Knowledge Cypher conferences on issues of importance to the black community in Dayton. Teen suicide and depression was chosen in May, which is Mental Health Month, because of the rising impact it’s having on black teens, Knowledge for Life founder and president Steven Muhammad said.

RELATED: Why youth mental health is one of the Miami Valley’s biggest issues

“Suicide across the board is becoming a serious issue,” he said. “It’s one of the leading causes of death among youth.”

Last year, 9.8 percent of African-American teenagers nationwide reported trying to kill themselves compared to 6.1 percent of white teenagers, according to Greg Ramey, pediatric psychologist and executive director for the Center for Pediatric Mental Health Resources at Dayton Children’s.

The Dayton Daily News’ Path Forward team is digging into solutions to the Miami Valley’s biggest issues, including youth mental health.

RELATED: Youth mental health: What can parents do?

The event’s keynote speaker will be Manicka Thomas, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist.

She’ll be joined by panelists De’Asia Thompson, social worker and therapist; Kayelin Tiggs, Miss Buckeye State USA whose platform focuses on mental health; Dayton artist Daria Love; and Robbie Brandon, founder and executive director of youth mental health provider Sunlight Village Inc.

The event is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about youth mental health and asking questions.

“It’s a very interactive conference,” Muhammad said.

TEEN SUICIDE: One mother’s story

He said they will also try to stream the event on Knowledge for Life’s YouTube channel at

Central State’s Dayton campus is located at 840 Germantown St. in Dayton. The event is scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, May 21.

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