Suicide among Black youth has become disastrous, and mental health professionals are despairing to understand how best to address it. According to New York Times, suicide rates among black American teens have been increasing. They found an increase in suicide deaths between 2003 and 2007 among males mostly between the age of 15 and 17. Suicide rates among females increased by 6 percent twice the increase in males. Almost 40 percent of the females aged 12 to 14 years old are also affected rising an alarm to this age group.
Mortality data show that suicide rates of U.S. teenagers and young adults are highest in boys, especially black Americans. This study shows that over the last decades there is a vast increase in suicides among black teens, with males leading in the highest percentage than females. “I think in the past suicide — or suicidal behavior — was just thought of as a white thing,” said Dr. Sheftall, a principal investigator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “And that’s not the case.”
The reason behind the increase in suicide rates among black teens is due to racial discrimination and sexual discrimination which causes stigma, a mental-related problem. These mostly affect Black teen girls mostly in high school who appears to be at a higher risk of sexual violence than girls of other race and such violence is a known suicide risk factor Stigma is the feeling of being ignored may keep black youth from sharing their thoughts. Also, mental health experts may be unaware that suicide risk factors could show up differently depending on ethnic group.
Other sources argue that the compounding effects of sexism and racism on Black girls might increase this group’s risk of depression and anxiety, compared with that of Black boys. Teachers, parents, guardians, and mental health professionals should engage regularly with Black youth to be educated on behaviors that actually might be indicating that a child is at risk. They need to learn that at-risk youth may express irritability rather than sadness as a warning sign. Black youth who live in low-income housing sometimes complain of physical pain.
Interventions that aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental health treatment in Black communities are now becoming available to provide depressed young people with mental health care and reduce the stigma. In mid-2019, pandemic suicide became the second cause of death in America. With the Covid19 pandemic, many people lost their jobs leading to financial constraints, food constraints causing stress. This led to an increase in suicide rates.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the public specialist introduced a new practice of medicine, using technology to deliver care at a distance such as mental health services. Public health experts say they need health campaigns that dispel myths about mental illness and also increase the awareness of suicide risks and where one can receive treatment. Poverty level affects mental health status. African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are twice as likely to report serious psychological distress leading to suicidal thoughts.