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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Suicides Increasing Among African American Youth -- Learn The Signs

African American Depressed Teenager

In 2005, the American Association of Suicidology reported that suicide was the third leading cause of death among African American youth. In that year, 1,992 suicide were committed by African Americans. Included in that number were 1,621 males and 371 females. Between 1999 and 2004, young African American males had the highest rate of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The reason these statistics are so alarming is that African Americans do not typically take their own lives. In the African American community, it's considered weak and "something only white people do". But that seems to be changing. With the recent suicides of Don Cornelius, the creator and host of “Soul Train,” and actor Lee Thompson Young from “Rizzoli & Isles,” people want to know why.

One theory that has been suggested is that the cause of many suicides, depression and mental illness,  is not something that is admitted or even talked about in the black community. Anything that would create negativity against them is simply not discussed in public by African Americans. The real problem with this is that it prevents those who are ill from getting the kind of help they need to feel better and live healthy lives.

Signs of Depression

* Mood changes
* Withdrawal from others
* Feelings of no self-worth
* Feelings of hopelessness
* Talking about suicide or harming themselves

These are all dangerous signs of deep depression that can lead to suicide. If you or a family member or friend notice these signs, they should not be ignored. It's time not only to talk about them but to seek help. If you need more information on how you and others can receive help, don't hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for help.
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