Black History Month is an annual observance and celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their significant role in U.S. history. While there is much to celebrate, there is an alarming trend among this demographic. Over the last decade, suicide rates in the United States have increased dramatically among African Americans.
According to a report in The Washington Times, long term suicide trends within the country changed heading into the pandemic. Data released by the CDC showed that as rates fell steadily among white Americans for the first time, they rose among African American people.
From 2007 to 2020, suicide rates for African Americans increased by 39%, after years of steady decline. Some startling trends surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic. African Americans were seriously considering suicide at almost twice the rate as white Americans.
CDC data also showed that 44% of African American respondents reported more than one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom compared to almost 38% of white Americans.
If you suspect someone is experiencing a mental health crisis or contemplating suicide, consider reaching out to them with empathy and understanding. Connect to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. Dial 911 if it is an emergency. The Jason Foundation is another available resource. The Jason Foundation is dedicated to the awareness and prevention of suicide through educational programs and provides tools and resources to identify and assist those who are at-risk. For more information on helping your friends and loved ones who are suffering with a mental illness, please visit jasonfoundation.com.
division director of The Jason Foundation, Inc.