HealthDay News — From 2001 to 2017, the rate of suicides among African-American (AA) adolescents increased, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Community Health.

James H. Price, PhD, MPH, from the University of Toledo in Ohio, and Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, PhD, from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, used data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys and the Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System database from 2001 to 2017 to explore the nature of suicidal deaths and suicide attempts among AA adolescents (aged 13 to 19 years).

The researchers found that from 2001 to 2017, there was a 60% increase in the rate of AA male suicides and a 182% increase in the rate of AA female suicides. For AA adolescents, suicides represented the second leading cause of death. There were 68,528 suicide attempts that were serious enough to be treated by health professionals among AA male adolescents and 94,760 among AA female adolescents in 2017. Male adolescents were most likely to use firearms or to hang/suffocate themselves to commit suicide (52 and 34%, respectively), whereas female adolescents mainly used hanging/suffocation followed by firearms (56 and 21%, respectively). Georgia, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Missouri had the greatest number of AA adolescent suicides.

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“There needs to be a greater emphasis on urban public schools providing adequate screening, treatment and referral services for adolescents with mental health disorders,” the authors write.

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