Research over the last decade has shown a troubling increase in suicidal thoughts and attempts among young Black people. In 2008, suicide was the fifth leading cause of death for Black youth ages 5 to 18. By 2018, it was the third leading cause.
But little research exists on the “how” and “why” of suicide in Black youth. A new statement in JAMA Pediatrics, from Arielle Sheftall, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and colleagues at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the nonprofit research institute RTI International, lays out a roadmap for that research.
“To understand how disparities in suicide rates are driven, we need to develop and test culturally informed theories of suicide risk and behavior. Identifying unique risks, specifically race-related stressors, will enable us to create more effective prevention tactics.”