Suicide Rate Rises For Black Children: What Parents Must Know For Back To School

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Researchers found that suicide rates have doubled for Black children while declining for White children over the last decade.

According to the JAMA Pediatrics study, “the overall suicide rate among children aged 5 to 11 years remained stable between 1993 to 1997 and 2008 to 2012. However, the suicide rate increased significantly in Black children,” while decreasing among White kids, the study states.

While the overall firearm suicide rate among White boys also decreased during the study, the rate of suicide by hanging/suffocation among Black boys specifically, is alarming.

As for the significance, suicide is a leading cause of death among school-aged children younger than 12-years-old, say researchers.

According to Psychologist and Clinical Therapist Angela Adams Ali, PhD, there are several reasons for the rise in suicide rates among African American kids. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) onset by “the violence they are witnessing,” in turn, builds anxiety and depression, Ali tells

“Then let’s talk about the quiet violence,” Ali continued. “Being misunderstood has been a long standing problem – a lack of cultural competence – a teacher may automatically assume a child is doing something wrong like stealing and that really isn’t the case. That in itself can affect a child’s self-esteem,” she added.

“In terms of social media – where people are basically doing a lot of bullying [that is another form of violence], kids are being harassed, bullied and again this creates depression,” said Ali. “Only in this form, it’s out there for everyone to see. It’s not just being bullied on the school yard.”