The Sad Conclusions of a Suicide Study—of Kids

Researchers looked at 657 suicides in two decades, of kids 5 to 11
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2015 2:52 PM CDT
The Sad Conclusions of a Suicide Study—of Kids

(Newser) – It has to rank among the saddest of studies: a new look at suicides among young children. Researchers reviewed two decades of CDC data, from 1993 to 2012. Though they write in JAMA Pediatrics that "suicide is a leading cause of death among school-aged children younger than 12 years," they found that suicides among those ages 5 to 11 are very rare, reports the AP: There were 657 during the period studied, or one roughly every week-and-a-half (per the CDC, the daily average for all ages is 105 suicides). But while the suicide rate remained stable during that time, "that stability obscured racial differences," observes Psych Central. The suicide rate decreased in white children, but increased significantly in black children, from from 1.36 to 2.54 per 1 million between the study's first five years and its last five. (In white children, the shift was from 1.14 to 0.77.)

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That shot suicide up from No. 14 on the list of causes of death among black kids of this age to No. 9; it's No. 11 for white kids. The researchers noted that 84% of those who committed suicide were boys and just 16% girls, and the rate worsens when viewed through a gender lens as well. For black boys, the rate climbed to 3.47 per million. The findings represent a big shift, per lead author Jeffrey Bridge. "Historically, the suicide rate among US black individuals has been lower than that of white individuals across age groups," reads the study. "To our knowledge, this is the first national study to observe higher suicide rates among US black individuals compared with white individuals." Hanging and suffocation were the main methods for young children. Bridge advises parents to look for warning signs like prolonged unhappiness and withdrawing from favorite activities. (Related: Why men kill themselves more often than women.)

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