Research Shows Black Suicide Rates Are Even Worse Than They Appear

Black American suicides are much more likely than whites' to be classified as "undetermined."

Black suicide rates

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Suicide rates among Black people in America could be much higher than most studies suggest.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Black people commit suicide at a much lower rate than the overall average U.S suicide rate.

Data suggests that the age-adjusted suicide rate for Black Americans in 2020 was 7.7 per 100,000 people and 16.8 per 100,000 people for their white counterparts.

But Ian Rockett, a West Virginia University researcher and investigator believes these numbers are drastically misleading.

Black American deaths are 2.3 times more likely than white deaths to be classified as ‘undetermined’ at the time they occur.

After years of researching the epidemiology of suicide, Rockett found that medical examiners and coroners consistently lacked sufficient data to accurately determine causes of death among Black Americans, therefore suicide rates among Blacks are misleading, and the data proves such.

A recent study published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, suggests Black suicides were more likely to be categorized as ‘undetermined’ because medical examiners and coroners are privy to less information when investigating Black deaths.

“When there’s less psychological documentation, they’re more likely to be labeled as undetermined intent,” Rockett said in an interview with Scientific American. “This leads to suicide misclassification.”

A study published this year found in the Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior journal found that words like ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ were commonly found when researching the white deaths. When investigating Black deaths, words like ‘questionable’ and ‘no further details’ were commonly found.

Other risk factors for suicide such as medication information and family problems were also commonly found in white narratives, but missing in Black narratives.

“When there’s less psychological documentation, they’re more likely to be labeled as undetermined intent,” Rockett said in an interview with Scientific American. “This leads to suicide misclassification.”

Information is king, and medical examiners frequently get less when the person who has died is Black. According to a study in the National Library of Medicine, only a fifth of Black Americans who die by suicide leave notes, as compared to a third of white Americans.

White men indeed commit suicide at a much higher rate than anyone else in America. But those statistics are missing a ton of context. Black people in America do not receive the same quality of healthcare when compared to their white counterparts. Within those disparities is lack of documental medical information. This suggests that more Black people are committing suicide as statistics show. If this data is correct, more suicide prevention resources are needed in the Black community.

SEE ALSO:

How Raising Chickens Helped With This Black Man’s Mental Health

The Life And Death Of Cedric ‘C.J.’ Lofton, The Black Teen Who Died Because Cops Were Called To Deal With Mental Health Crisis

Research Shows Black Suicide Rates Are Even Worse Than They Appear  was originally published on newsone.com

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