According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, much suicide research and prevention effort design is based on White American culture. And, that although suicide rates among Black youth are lower than rates based on national statistics the trauma and inequity faced by Black youth are often not accounted for in this research. The Congressional report on Black Youth Suicide in American notes that suicide rates are climbing in youth ages 10 to 19 years. This report notes that suicide is the second leading cause of death, and in 2017, over 3,000 youth died by suicide in this age group. Over the past decade, increases in the suicide death rate for Black youth have seen the rate rising from 2.55 per 100,000 in 2007 to 4.82 per 100,000 in 2017.
Data suggests that in the overall U.S. population, the suicide death rate for men is more than three times the rate for women in Black populations. The suicide death rate for the overall U.S. population is approximately double that of Black populations for both males and females.
Overall, suicides have increased roughly 35% from 1999 to 2018. Roughly 48,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among all ages. For ages 10 to 19, it’s second after accidents. The rates of suicides and suicide attempts for Black adults have trailed white and Native American adults. But newer research shows an alarming rise in Black young people trying to take their own lives.
And according to the Congressional Report on Black Youth Suicide, Black youth are less likely to receive care for depression, which is a major risk factor for suicide.
The Congressional Report also outlines risk factors for suicide Black youth are commonly exposed to, trauma. The report further mentions, "Black youth are not all the same and have diverse experiences; however, there are numerous traumatic experiences that Black youth can have including exposure to racism, discrimination, neighborhood violence, economic insecurity, abuse, grief and other adverse childhood experiences. Trauma is disproportionately experienced in Black communities when compared with other communities, and traumas experienced are more likely to be severe."
Multisystemic Therapy and Family Therapy were two recommended preventative measures recommended by the Congressional Report. Both are counseling approaches that research showed to have a lasting effect on mental health. Students can receive short term counseling from the LWTech Counseling Center, with the possibility for referral to external counselor.
Contact the suicide prevention hotline if you or a friend are considering suicide. Call (800) 273-8255 for immediate assistance that is free and confidential. Texting is also available. Text “HEAL” to 741741 Crisis Text Line.
Dr. Sparkman Key discusses how black youth suicide has become a epidemic in the black community. Researchers have found that there is a increase among the suicide rates among black youth that doubles the rates of white youth similar in age.
From NBC Nightly News, study shows suicide rate of black children twice that of white children.
Warning: Distressing Themes. Over the past decade suicide attempts among Black children rose 92%. The increase includes elementary aged children, some as young as 5 — and experts aren’t entirely sure why.
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