Suicide Rates On The Rise For Black Kids Under Age 12
Suicide rates have fallen among young white children in the U.S. but they’ve gone up among black youngsters, according to a new study of suicides in kids under age 12.
Via Al Jazeera:
Suicide is rare among these very young children, but it does happen, lead author Jeffrey A. Bridge of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio told Reuters Health by email.
The difference in suicide rates between young children of the two races is masked by the overall suicide rate for all young children, which remained stable during the 20 years studied, he and his colleagues wrote in JAMA Pediatrics.
“When I initially looked at the results I thought we had made a mistake in the analyses because historically white youth in the United States have had higher suicide rates than black youth,” said Bridge.
He and his colleagues examined U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records on suicide among kids from five to 11 years old between 1993 and 2012.
A total of 657 children died by suicide during that time — an average of 33 per year, the researchers found. About 84 percent of the deaths occurred among boys. Hanging and suffocation was the most common method.
The overall suicide rate remained stable at about one suicide per one million children during the 20-year period.
However, the suicide rate nearly doubled among black children during that time while it fell among white children, the researchers found.
The increase in suicides among black children was isolated to boys, among whom the rate grew from about 1.8 to about 3.5 for every million children.
For white boys, the suicide rate declined from about 2 to about 1.3 suicides per one million children over the 20 years.
“Many factors – 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, but the specific impact of each of these factors is unclear,” Bridge said.
“Along the same lines, for many years black youth have used mental health services less than white children and youth,” said Stacey Freedenthal of the University of Denver, who was not part of the new study. “This could be a factor in suicide rates, but why now when the differences in service use have existed for so long?”
What do you think is the underlying issue in the African American community that has suicide rates rising?