When Jeffrey Bridge, an epidemiologist at the Children Hospital in Columbus, Ohio was collating a study that tracked suicidal deaths of children between the age of 5 – 11 from the period 1993 – 2012, he found a disturbing trend. The rate of suicide among Black children has nearly doubled while that of white children has declined.
The study was based on the death certificate of the children with the word ‘suicide’ as the cause of death.
The researcher noted that the rate was so surprising, that he claimed to have waited for another year to review more data, but the results generated a year later showed no changes in the trend.
The almost 2 decades of suicide data were summarized as follows:
The rate of suicide among black children has risen from 1.36 to 2.54 per 1 million while the rate of suicide among white children has declined from 1.14 to 0.77 per a million.
“I was shocked, I’ll be honest with you,” said Jeffrey Bridge “I looked at it and I thought, ‘Did we do the analysis correctly?’ I thought we had made a mistake.”
However, the researchers could not provide a conclusive contributory factor on why black children suicide rate has seen a surge. Theory ranges from early onset of puberty among blacks to depression and wider exposure to trauma and gun violence due to decreasing religious influence compared to their parents’ generation.
The study was published in the Journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday, 18th May and reported by New York Times.