Black Elementary School-Aged Suicide On The Rise


When you hear of someone committing suicide on the news before even seeing who it is, many automatically think that it is a white male. And historically you would be correct. History shows us that black individuals in the United States had lower suicide rates than white individuals across all age groups, and suicide was largely considered a white problem.

But times are changing.

From statistics done in both 2003-2007 and 2008-2012, the rate of African American children age 5-11 years old has doubled that of their white counterparts.

But there’s more.

A study into this disturbing trend examined statistics for children between the ages of 5 and 11 from 1993 to 2012, and found that while the overall suicide rate among this age group remained stable, the rate increased significantly among black children (from 1.36 to 2.54 per 1 million children), and decreased significantly among white children (from 1.14 to 0.77 per 1 million children), during the same period. While the suicide rates among elementary-age children in general are relatively low compared to the number of suicides committed by adolescents and adults, these statistics are significant because they explore a little-studied demographic and because they show the reversal of a trend.

It’s difficult to say for certain why more black children are committing suicide, but researchers identified exposure to violence and traumatic stress among black children,…

… as well as aggressive school discipline and a higher likelihood of early onset puberty, as possible risk factors.

The trends in the study were driven by boys. Across all age groups, women are less likely to die by suicide, even though suicide attempts are three times higher among women than men.



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