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Study finds racism contributes to high suicide rates among Black men

Researchers say trauma and racism at an earlier age caused a significant negative impact on Black men's mental health as adults.
Study finds racism contributes to high suicide rates among Black men
Posted at 8:03 PM, Mar 28, 2024

Over the years, clinical research has shown that suicide often stems from tough living situations or negative past experiences. A new study now points out that racism and childhood trauma are contributing to high suicide rates among Black men.

According to a study by the University of Georgia, one out of every three Black men in rural areas said they have thought about suicide or death in just the last two weeks.

The majority of those who grew up in a "low-resource environment and experiencing racial discrimination during young adulthood" lacked the ability to trust, which led to being isolated and ultimately triggering thoughts of death or suicide. 

“I think we often don’t look at where the disparities are and who the individuals most at risk are when we’re talking about suicide ideation,” said study co-author Michael Curtis in a press release. “We just know it’s bad, and particularly among young Black men."

SEE MORE: FCC considers rule change to make 988 suicide hotline more accessible

For the study, researchers monitored over 500 African American men who were either in their late teens or early 20s and lived in rural areas of Georgia. These men were asked multiple times throughout several years about childhood experiences, including abuse, witnessing abuse, feeling loved, access to necessities, trust in relationships, experiences of racism, and depressive symptoms.

Researchers say the results showed that experiences of trauma and racism had a significant negative impact on men's mental health as adults. 

“The quality of our relationships is what sustains human beings,” said lead author Steven Kogan. “For people who have suicidal thoughts, there’s this sense that 'no one knows me, nobody cares about me, there’s nobody there for me, I am alone.'”

The study also notes that those who had a positive childhood experience but still experienced some form of racism had a harder time developing healthy relationships. It found that racial discrimination increased the risks of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

If you need to talk to someone, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.


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