2015 Archives

Suicide rate up among young black children in U.S.


The following is from the May 18, 2015, edition of Health magazine. Sarah Feuerbacher, director of SMU's Center for Family Counseling, provided expertise for this story.

May 28, 2015

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter 

(HealthDay News) — Suicides among black American children have increased in recent years, while fewer white children are killing themselves, a new analysis finds.

The odds of any children in the age group 5 to 11 taking their own life remain small. But young black children are three times as likely to do so as whites, the researchers said.

“While overall suicide rates in children younger than 12 years in the United States remained steady from 1993 to 2012, there was a significant increase in suicide rates among black children and a significant decrease in suicide in white children,” said Jeffrey Bridge, of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. . .

Bridge and his colleagues published their findings in the May 18 online edition of JAMA Pediatrics. . . 

“It is important to ask children directly about suicide if there is a concern about a child,” Bridge said. “For example: ‘Are you having thoughts about killing yourself?’ The research has shown that asking children directly about suicide will not trigger subsequent suicidal thinking or behavior. It does not hurt to ask.”

Sarah Feuerbacher, director of the Southern Methodist University Center for Family Counseling in Plano, Texas, seconded the notion that “it is always a good idea to ask.”

Feuerbacher said, “Starting the conversation with someone you think may be depressed or even considering suicide helps in many ways.” This may help a child feel less alone and less isolated, while offering the opportunity to trust and confide in other people and/or alternative options, she suggested.

In the case of older kids, Feuerbacher added, “most teens that get help for their depression go on to enjoy life and feel better about themselves, their relationships, and their environments in which they live.”

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