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Why Is Suicide Highest For Black Kids Under 13?

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: iStock

A terribly disturbing trend has surfaced among black children aged 5-12 years of age, according to a new report based on a research study conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Jeff Bridge, (director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital) was the leader of the research team that conducted the study, which was the emphasis of this harrowing new report. For the first time in recorded medical history, black children under age 13 are dying from suicide at a higher rate than white children.

This study was based on findings in cases involving boys and girls in both races. First, the research team for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus analyzed federal data on childhood and adolescent suicide, which documented occurrences from 2001 to 2015. Two trends were found when the federal data was further scrutinized.

When it came to youths aged 13-17, black minors committed suicide at a significantly lower rate that their white counterparts. Historically, whites youths have generally committed suicide at a considerably higher rate than black youths overall in both age groups (5-12-years-old and 13-17-years-old).

However, over the course of recent history, black children have been taking their own lives at a higher rate than white children in the younger youth age group, the study reveals.

“Our findings provide further evidence of a significant age-related racial disparity in childhood suicide rates and rebut the long-held perception that suicide rates are uniformly higher in whites than blacks in the United States,” reads an excerpt of the report.

“The large age-related racial difference in suicide rates did not change during the study period, suggesting that this disparity is not explained by recent events such as the economic recession,” the report goes on to read. When looking at the hard facts of this sobering reality, the first question that pops up in the minds of most common observers is “Why?”

It is a cultural norm in most civilized societies across the world that suicide is never justifiable under any circumstances. However, when it comes to the youngest age group of black school-aged children in America, the unjustifiable societal circumstances that many of them have to live through personally and witness from afar are largely ignored.

This willful ignorance is definitely a cause for major concern and black children are seeing front and center how lowly their lives are regarded by America’s criminal justice system in many cases. One graphic example was the state-sponsored murder of Tamir Rice in Ohio, the very same state where this alarming research study was conducted.

“Black communities can deeper examine what is going on in their schools, health facilities and neighborhoods to further understand the particular toxic stresses that impact Black children,” wrote Clarissa Hamlin in a recent report published by News One.

“An understanding of the messages being sent at these places to children and the warning signs of suicide must are also important to strengthening intervention and prevention efforts,” she also wrote.

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