A new research study highlights the disproportionate gun suicide risk of Black youth, especially those who identify as LGBTQ, The Baltimore Banner reports.
According to a study from researchers at the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Black youth suicide rates are rising faster than their peers from other races. The report, “Still Ringing the Alarm: An Enduring Call to Action for Black Youth Suicide Prevention,” points out that the threat of firearms heightens the risk.
Black boys ages 0–19 are most likely to commit suicide with firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Racial trauma associated with community violence and police brutality increases suicide risks involving firearms, according to CDC research, The Baltimore Banner states. Per the new report, “between 2007 and 2020, the suicide rate among Black youth ages 10–17 increased by 144%; from 1.54 per 100,000 in 2007 to 3.77 per 100,000 in 2020.”
The authors note that for nearly two decades, suffocation has been the most common method of suicide among Black youth ages 0–19, followed by firearms (40.9%).
“We do hypothesize that institutional racism likely had an effect, but we don’t know for sure. That is one of the contributing factors that was at play,” said Janel Cubbage, a strategic partnerships and equity program manager at the Center for Gun Violence Solutions.
The report also cites data from 2019 that calls attention to 51% of Black LGB (lesbian, gay, and bisexual) youth who reported feeling depressed in the year prior to the study, and 35.1% reported having suicidal ideations.
While the rate of Black youth suicide is rising, the new report states, “Black researchers and implementers face significant barriers to conduct research and develop and implement culturally specific, evidence-based interventions for Black youth suicide prevention,” according to The Baltimore Banner.
Different approaches are employed to address mental health and suicide prevention, according to the report’s authors. The Baltimore Banner reports that the latest findings result from data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Trevor Project. There are several inequalities within the suicide prevention community highlighted in the research.
“All of the research has been done from a Eurocentric view,” said Cubbage, co-author of the report. “Resources are not being dedicated to this issue.”
Community leaders and suicide prevention advocates find the latest findings distressing.
According to The Baltimore Banner, Lee Blinder, founder and executive director of Trans Maryland, called the report “heartbreaking.”
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