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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What Black Parents Need to Know About Suicide Rates Among Black Boys

Black boys suicide increase

A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics revealed an alarming fact about suicide rates among black boys. While the suicide rate among white children is decreasing, young black children are three times as likely to commit suicide as whites. Why?

Why suicide is increasing among young black boys

Researchers at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio examined 20 years of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During 1993 - 2012, the suicide rate dropped from 1.14 per 1 million to 0.77 per 1 million among young white children, but among black children, the numbers increased from 1.36 per million to 2.54 per million during the same period. Among black boys, the suicide rate nearly doubled.

A call for action

These numbers indicate a serious need to acknowledge that suicide can and does happen to children even under the age of 12. It's a fact we can no longer ignore. According to one researcher, Jeffrey Bridge, “Many factors affecting black youth, including increased exposure to violence and traumatic stress, early onset of puberty, and lower likelihood to seek help for depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts may be contributing to the disparity.”

Talk about it

Among the black community, it is less likely that children or their parents will talk about mental illness. But this practice needs to be discontinued, and black parents especially need to talk to their children about feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts. Talking it out and seeking counseling will help with depression and allow children and adolescents to feel better about themselves and live a long and normal life.

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