Elementary-age suicides: rate rising among black children

Youth suicide is a major problem – the second-leading cause of death among adolescents in the US – but research into the trends has tended to exclude young children, say authors analyzing the numbers. Their analysis looks exclusively at the group aged 5-11 years and finds that while the rate has remained steady overall, an increasing proportion of young black children have become victims of suicide.Within the stable suicide rates, numbering an average of around 33 children in the US annually over the past 2 decades, fewer white children have been affected while more black kids have succumbed.

To reach this conclusion, US death rate statistics from 1993-2012 were used for the JAMA Pediatrics journal report, and the divergent trend was shown by:

  • Increased rates in black children, from 1.36 suicide deaths to 2.54 in every million
  • Decreased rates in white children, from 1.14 to 0.77 per million children.

Lead author of the study is epidemiologist and suicide researcher Jeffrey Bridge, PhD, of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH. With colleagues, Dr. Bridge also made the following findings:

  • A total of 657 children aged between 5 and 11 years died by suicide between 1993 and 2012

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