A new study conducted by the University of Georgia revealed that one in three Black men who reside in the state’s underserved communities have reported suicidal ideation in the past two weeks.

Research done focused on environmental settings. Black adult males who not only grew up in areas of poverty that had limited resources but also experienced racism in their childhood have a hard time building fruitful, long-standing relationships with others, according to UGA Today. The lack of trust in others that stems from hardships faced until adulthood stirs up emotions that cause them to essentially feel alone in a silo with no connections, which leads to depressing thoughts of dying or contemplating suicide.

“I think we often don’t look at where the disparities are and who the individuals most at risk are when we’re talking about suicide ideation,” Michael Curtis, the study’s co-author, told UGA Today. “We just know it’s bad, and particularly among young Black men.”

He added, “Historically, research has not invested a lot of time and effort in looking into what are the unique cultural contexts that make certain men more at risk for suicidal thoughts than other men.”

The rate of Black men who have died by committing suicide has increased rapidly, per Black Enterprise. In 2023, Courtney B Vance and Dr. Robin L. Smith shared their suggestions in the book The Invisible Ache about what actions and tools are needed to transform Black men’s comfort when it comes to dealing with mental health.

“[With] Black boys and Black men, the rates of suicide is increasing. The rate is accelerating faster than any other group in the country, in the United States. And so we have to ask why,” Smith told NPR in an interview.

Something else Smith addressed is internalized hate that some Black people feel due to their circumstances.

“How is it that Black boys are often seen as scary and dangerous, even when they are 6 or 7 or 10? The experience that the white world has of them is their skin color and their gender, [which], put together, creates a level of fear,” he told NPR. “So that person who I’m describing, who is pathologized and demonized, can ingest that as if those lies are true and then never expose and be treated for what it has cost them to be Black and male in America.”

In correlation to UG’s findings, Curtis said that what children endure in adolescent years and youth play a key role in their state of mind and reaction to things in adulthood.

“We found when Black men were exposed to childhood adversity, they may develop an internal understanding of the world as somewhere they are devalued, where they could not trust others, and they could not engage the community in a supportive way,” Curtis told Black Enterprise. “Engaging with social support is critical for young Black men who experience many challenges to success.”

University of Georgia’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences Professor Steven Kogan, who is also the lead author of the study, shared one fundamental tool that can help lower the numbers is showing Black kids the beauty that lies within them and the richness of who they are.

“More research is needed, but one finding is unequivocal: Loving yourself as a Black person is foundational,” Kogan told UGA Today. “Teaching children and youth to be proud of being Black counters the potential for them to internalize negative messages about Blackness that pervade U.S. society.”