The Number Of Suicides Among Black Children Has Doubled Since The 1990s
One researcher is demanding Congress do something about it.
Suicide is the leading cause of death of elementary school-aged children. In a study of those between 5 to 11 years old, the suicide rate of Black children nearly doubled between 1993 and 2012 and was twice as high as the rate of their white counterparts. Meanwhile, across the same time of the study, the suicide instances for white children decreased overall.
The study grouped statistics in segments of five years: 1993-1997, 1998-2002, 2003-2007 and 2008-2019. The most significant changes occurred among white children as the suicide rate dropped from 1.26 per million between 1998-2002 to .89 per million in 2003-2007. Throughout the same transition, Black children saw a rise from 1.41 per million to 2.35. Within the next immediate group, white children saw another dip to .77 per million while Black children faced a second rise to 2.54 per million.
These results are even further disproportionate when considering gender. During the most recent segment of the study, the rate of suicide among boys was three times that of young girls.
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During a congressional staff briefing hosted by New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman at the U.S. Capitol on December 7, researchers urged lawmakers to address this disparity by way of a task force.
“What we need is to create a national task force to really look at this issue for that particular demographic and really try to understand the reasons why Black boys are committing suicide at higher rates than any other group in that age category,” Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, the executive director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University, said in a release.
Considering these statistics, the Birmingham Times warns parents and guardians of the difference between signs of depression among adults and teens, citing boredom and irritability, as well as somatic symptoms including a stomach ache or a headache.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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