The number of suicides among Black children has increased dramatically in the last decade, leaving researchers without concrete answers as to the reason for such a sharp increase.
The suicide rate among African American kids has gone up by 71 percent, growing from 86 suicides in 2006 to 147 in 2016, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Overall, the suicide rate among all U.S. children under 18 was up by 64 percent in the same period.
Although researchers were unable to pinpoint the exact reasons, they speculate that Black children affected by racism are at greater risk. Researchers also pinpointed the fact that suicide is not considered a problem within the Black community, hence hindering any form of prevention efforts, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“If there is a belief that Black children do not kill themselves, there’s no reason to use tools to talk about suicide prevention,” Rheeda Walker, a psychology professor at the University of Houston told the Tribune. Her research of African-American mental health shows possible links between perceived racism and suicide among Black youths.
“Minorities often don’t seek treatment,” said Erlanger Turner, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston who also studies race and culture. “What we know is that people at risk of suicide often suffer from some mood disorder or depression. If you’re not treated for these conditions, the risk is much higher.”
In December, 10-year-old Ashawnty Davis committed suicide after falling victim to “bullycide,” choosing to take her life after video of her being bullied was posted on social media.