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What’s Going On? Black Children Between the Ages of 5 and 11 Are Committing Suicide More Than Whites and Experts Don’t Know Why

Black children in America are having a hard time of it, as studies point to an increase in suicides. In a community where suicide is not viewed as a “Black thing,” and discussions about mental health are often viewed as taboo or not taken seriously, the statistics suggest that more must be done to stem the tide of a growing epidemic.

With historical adversity, psychological distress and racism impacting their mental health, the Black community is no stranger to suicide in America. Africans committed suicide on slave ships — in the case of the 1806 Igbo Landing mass suicide, Africans took their lives as an act of resistance — and on the plantation out of their suffering in captivity.

Traditionally, Black youths have had a lower suicide rate than white youths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, a study published by the journal JAMA Pediatrics in 2018 revealed that the suicide rate among Black children under 13 years is now double the rate for white children in that age group. This reality applies to both girls and boys, the study says, and white suicide rates surpass Black rates in the teen years. Read more here.

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