Suicide rates among Black youth have been spiking. According to a recent study, suicide among Black girls have seen the biggest increase.
The “Black Youth Suicide: Investigation of Current Trends and Precipitating Circumstances” found that “Black youth experienced a significant upward trend in suicide with the largest annual percentage change in the 15- to 17-year age group and among girls.”
The suicide rate went from 4.9 to 6.6 percent. Besides prior suicidal thoughts and behaviors being triggers, mental health issues, relationship problems, interpersonal trauma and life stressors were also listed.
One of the authors Michael Lindsey, dean of the New York University Silver School of Social Work, said this data debunks myths about suicide.
“Black girls showed the largest annual percentage change in terms of suicide increase,” he said during a USC webinar. “We typically think that suicide is an older white male phenomenon.”
Lindsey added that Black youth, especially LGBTQ youth, need more empathy and validation from the adults around them in order to address this issue.
“There is a lack of appreciation of how the kids are identifying, and painful caustic experiences that those kids are subjected to as they come into their own identity in terms of how they want to be reflected in the world,” he told Youth Today.
Previous research has also found that suicide amongst youth deserves more attention and intervention. The Trevor Project’s 2022 analysis, found that 45 percent of the 34,000 youth participants aged 13 to 24 had seriously considered suicide. The “Ring The Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America” report stated that self-reported suicide attempts among Black youth skyrocketed 144 percent between 1991 and 2019.
To learn more about helping Black youth experiencing suicidal thoughts, see the resources below:
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) — nami.org
National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide (NOPCAS) — nopcas.org
The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide — sptsusa.org
Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) — sprc.org
The Trevor Project Lifeline — thetrevorproject.org