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Suicide Rates Rising Among Black Youth

Last Updated: September 21, 2021.

TUESDAY, Sept. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Suicides are increasing among Black youth, according to a study published online Sept. 8 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Arielle H. Sheftall, Ph.D., from the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues examined trends and precipitating circumstances of suicide by sex and age group in Black youth aged 5 to 17 years, using data from the Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System and the National Violent Death Reporting System (2003 to 2017).

The researchers found that Black youth experienced a significant upward trend in suicide, with the largest annual percentage change in the 15- to 17-year-old age group (4.9 percent) and among girls (6.6 percent). The most common clinical characteristics and precipitating circumstances included mental health problems, relationship problems, interpersonal trauma and life stressors, and prior suicidal thoughts/behavior, with variance by sex and age group.

"We found that the annual percent increase among Black girls was twice that of Black boys, which was very surprising because this finding goes against what we usually see in the literature wherein more males die by suicide than females," Sheftall said in a statement. "This is quite concerning and signals that something is happening among our Black girls."

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