My Latest on Blogher: Young Black Children and Suicide

The first time I thought about killing myself, I was eleven. I’d had some trauma in my life, unspeakable things that my tween self could not articulate. Pain that ran deep, seated into my soul. I could not get away from it.

Image Credit: Sam D via Flickr

At eleven, I didn’t make a plan; plans came later in my teens. But I thought about death constantly and cried myself to sleep every night. With the every day assaults on myself as a child, a black child, a black girl-child, a working-class black girl-child—each breath was a chore. I had “black girl pain.”

I was lucky; I’m still here. Other children were not—are not as lucky as I was. While suicide among young children is rare, in the last twenty years since I was eleven, over 657 children aged ten and younger have committed suicide. Many more have tried, albeit unsuccessfully. Even more concerning than the raw numbers is a trend that has not been found among adult victims: young black children are killing themselves at three times the rate of white children.

Read the rest here!

4 thoughts on “My Latest on Blogher: Young Black Children and Suicide

  1. This story contains inaccurate facts. White children overall commit suicide at twice the rate of blacks which have the lowest rate of all races, but black rates among younger children have increased in recent years though the fewest overall. It is thought the increase could be due to increase violence in the black household and availability of firearms in those homes, also parental role-modeling domestic violence in the homes. It is interesting the under a first time black president it has grown worse not gotten better and I think that with increased promotion of blacks being victimized, vulnerable, incapable, and the increased rhetoric that blacks pictured to be hopeless without help from whites and government i think it adds to the helplessness they must feel with the lies they are taught.

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    1. What is the inaccurate facts? From the study: However, the suicide rate increased significantly in black children (from 1.36 to 2.54 per 1 million; IRR = 1.27; 95% CI, 1.11-1.45) and decreased in white children (from 1.14 to 0.77 per 1 million; IRR = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.79-0.94).

      The rate of suicide among young black children is 2.54/1M. The rate of suicide among young white children is .77/1M. Therefore, young black children are committing suicide at 3 times the rate of young white children.

      So your comment, “White children overall commit suicide at twice the rate of blacks which have the lowest rate of all races, but black rates among younger children have increased in recent years though the fewest overall,” may also be correct, it doesn’t address my point — among children aged 5 through 11, black children have the highest rate of suicide.

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