Suicide rates increased in US by 30% for black people and 16% for Asians over last 5 years – and rate for African-American youth rose by HALF
- A new study looked at suicide rates in the U.S. from 2014 to 2019 among different racial and ethnic groups
- Rates spiked by 30% for black Americans and 16% for Asians/Pacific Islanders over the five-year period compared to 10% for white people
- Among males between ages 15 and 24, rates soared by 47% for African-Americans and 40% for Asians in comparison with 20% for Caucasians
- Overall rates among white Americans are still higher than among blacks at 17.6 per 100,000 compared to 7.4 per 100,000
- Experts say they don’t know why rates are rising, but attribute it to factors including economic burdens and lack of mental health services for minorities
Suicide rates dramatically increased for minorities in the U.S. over the last five years, a new government study suggests.
Although overall rates are still higher among white Americans – and have been for at least the past two decades – increases have been more dramatic among communities of color.
Researchers found that rates rose by 30 percent for black residents and 16 percent for Asians between 2014 and 2019 compared to 10 percent among whites.
Figures were even more dramatic for minority youth with suicide rates spiking by nearly half for African-American males over the same time period.
The team, from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), says the findings show the need for suicide and mental health services geared towards specific subgroups in the hopes of driving down rates.
Experts add that they are not sure why rates are increasing, but have said that possible factors could include economic burden for older adults, lack of mental health care in communities of color bullying and sexual violence among youth.
A new study found that suicides rates spiked by 30% for black Americans (dotted yellow line) and 16% for Asians/Pacific Islanders (grey line) from 2014 to 2019 compared to 10% for white people (black line)
For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team looked at suicide rates among subgroups using mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System.
Results showed that, between 2014 and 2019, rates increased by 30 percent for black individuals from 5.7 deaths per 100,000 people to 7.4 per 100,000.
Over the same time period, rates also increased by 16 percent for Asian or Pacific Islanders in the U.S. from 6.1 to 7.1 per 100,000 individuals.
By comparison, while the overall suicide rate was higher for white Americans, the increase over the study period was smaller.
For Caucasians, the rate rose by about 10 percent from 16 deaths per 100,000 in 2014 to 17.6 in 2019.
The study also looked at rates among males between ages 15 and 24, who commit suicide in the U.S. at a rate five times greater than females do.
Data showed that rates for African-American male youth in this age group soared by 47 percent from 12.2 per 100,000 in 2013 to 17.9 in 2019.
Similarly for Asian or Pacific Islander males in the age bracket by 40 percent, from 12 to 16.8 per 100,000 during the same time period.
Once more, the overall rate for white male youth was higher, but the swell was more subtle, with a roughly 19 percent jump from 21 per 100,000 in 2013 to 25.4 in 2019.
Similar increases were seen among female youths from age 15 to 24, with a 59 percent jump among the black population (2.7 to 4.3 ) and 42 percent among Asian Americans (3.6 to 5.1).
Among males between ages 15 and 24, rates soared by 47% for African-Americans (dotted yellow line) and 40% for Asians (grey line) in comparison with 20% for Caucasians (black line)
The NIH researchers say that efforts are needed to reduce suicide rates and mental health disorders, including making mental health and suicide preventions equitable and accessible.
They add that stakeholders within communities of colors should help scientists identify some of the causes of suicide in certain groups.
‘Examining suicide trends in subgroups is necessary to inform prevention efforts that reach everyone,’ the authors wrote.
‘Efforts are needed to mitigate suicide and its risk factors in population subgroups, which may include systemic and other factors that have placed increased stress on individuals who belong to racial/ethnic minority groups, particularly Black and Asian or Pacific Islander individuals.’
- For confidential help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.
- For confidential support on suicide matters in the UK, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here.
- For confidential support in Australia, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or click here.