Men’s Health Month: Have Suicide Rates for Black Americans Increased? Why is More Data Pointing to an Increase?

Although June is the conclusion of Men’s Health Month, it is wise for men to understand and appreciate the growing problem of the increasing suicide rates for Black women.

Hoskin (May 27, 2022) recently reported that two devastating losses marked the beginning of this year last month. “The death of an attorney, former Miss USA, activist, and entertainment news correspondent Cheslie Kryst and up and coming musician and songwriter Ian King Jr. (actress Regina King’s son).” Hoskin highlights that both died by suicide, and both were Black. The Black community still feels the untimely deaths of Kryst and King. Their deaths point to a growing problem and concern of suicide rates in the black community.

Associated Press

Although June is the conclusion of Men’s Health Month, it is wise for men to understand and appreciate the growing problem of the increasing suicide rates for Black women. Suicide for Black teenagers and twenty-somethings has increased as well. The topic is no joke. Daily political and social events in the nation and world contribute to stress levels and moods. The subject of suicide is sensitive and particular for people of color, such as the Black community.

Just five years ago, Curtin (2017) reported that “the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States in 2017 (14.0 per 100,000 standard population) was 33% higher than the rate in 1999 (10.5).” Society may also underestimate the number of suicide deaths for these race and ethnicity groups. Although there is more discussion about suicide in the popular press and more openness to seeking therapy or medical intervention, more support groups help to improve the matter.

Dr. Cunha (October 5, 2021) defines “suicide as when a person takes their own life, and a suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with the intent to end their life, but they do not die.” He explains that the most suicidal months occur in the spring: April, May, and June. Dr. Cunha explains why suicide rates peak in the spring (April-June) is not fully understood. Still, theories include environmental allergies, and poorer air quality can increase the likelihood of depression and suicidal behavior. What is the narrative? The Narrative Matters!

Curtin (2017) Figure 1: Female

Curtin (2017) Figure 2: Male

References:

Cunha, J. (October 5, 2021). What Is the Most Suicidal Month? Suicide: What Months Have the Highest Rates, Signs & Treatment (emedicinehealth.com)

Curtin, S. (2017). Suicide Rates for Females and Males by Race and Ethnicity: United States, 1999 and 2017. Products – Health E Stats – Suicide Rates for females and males by race/ethnicity: United States: 1999 and 2014 (cdc.gov)

HHS (2022). United States Department of Health and Human Services. Mental and Behavioral Health – African Americans.Mental and Behavioral Health – African Americans – The Office of Minority Health (hhs.gov)

Hoskin, M.N.  (May 27, 2022). Why Are More Black Americans Committing Suicide? Why Are More Black Americans Committing Suicide? (forbes.com)

Terrelle,K. (June 11, 2018). Yes, ‘Strong Black Women’ Commit Suicide Too. Black Women Suicide CDC Rates Increased 30 Percent U.S. | HelloBeautiful.

Therapy for Black Men. (2022). https://therapyforblackmen.org/

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