8-Year-Old Kills Herself After Seeing Story On Child Suicide
Family, friends and investigators are still trying to wrap their heads around what drove beautiful 8-year-old New Jersey girl, Imani McCray to suicide a week before her birthday. But sources close to the investigation said she had seen a story on Facebook about another girl killing herself in a similar manner beforehand.
Authorities are trying to find out if the suicide of 10-year-old Colorado native Ashawntey Davis, played a role in the death of McCray over the weekend, a source with knowledge of an investigation into her death confirmed to NJ Advance Media.
Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly declined to comment Wednesday on whether or not McCray is suspected of taking her own life, saying the manner and cause of her death are pending a medical examiner’s autopsy. He also declined to say whether or not her death was accidental.
The prosecutor’s office Tuesday said preliminary autopsy results indicated the young girl did not have visible injuries. Also preliminary reports from authorities say that there is no indication that McCray was bullied.
McCray was found by an adult Sunday afternoon, unresponsive in her bedroom, in her family’s South Orange Avenue apartment, authorities said. Family members performed CPR, officials said. She was pronounced dead at 3 p.m., about 40 minutes after arriving at University Hospital, authorities said.
“It’s tragic … it’s just a horrible, horrible thing, no matter what the circumstances were around it, anytime an 8-year-old child is dead is just horrible,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said when questioned by a reporter.
Between 1993 and 2012, suicide among African American children across the United States nearly doubled, according to a study published in 2015. The steep rise among black children aged 5 to 11, from 1.36 to 2.54 per million children, even as it declined for white children, came as a shock to researchers.
While suicide rates for blacks are among the lowest in the nation when compared with whites, American Indians, Asians and Pacific Islanders, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young black men ages 10 to 24, according to 2014 figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet blacks are about half as likely as their white counterparts to get mental health care, according to a study published last year.
The numbers don’t lie. Not only are Black girls and boys as young as 5 years old killing themselves but these statistics show that young children are killing themselves most commonly by hanging, suffocation, and self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Sadly, yes, our BABIES are doing that!
“My heart goes out to them,” Baraka stated. “I hope it’s not bullying, I hope it isn’t a copy cat, I hope it’s not none of those things. … We just have to do better, you know all of us, as a community, as a society, we just have to do better.”
So what can be done?
According to Psychology Today, it’s important to point out that the majority of children who think about suicide do not end up hurting of killing themselves. Also, the majority of children with ADHD or depression are not suicidal.
On the other hand, if children mention wanting to die or hurt themselves, it’s important to take this seriously and respond in a thoughtful manner. A child who is preoccupied with thoughts of suicide and dying is suffering and urgently needs help.
Talk To Them Openly About It
Given that most kids have heard about suicide by age 8 or 9, it’s worth bringing up the topic with all children,…