Apr 2, 2024 - News

1 in 3 rural Black Georgia men feel suicidal, study finds

Illustration of three young Black men in profile, the third with his head lowered into hand.

Brendan Lynch/Axios

One-third of rural Georgia's young Black men reported suicidal ideation in the past two weeks, research shows. Childhood trauma and racism may be responsible.

Why it matters: Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Black people between ages 15 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Suicide is prevalent among Black men, who die by suicide at a rate more than four times that of Black women.

What they did: The University of Georgia published a study in February to understand what causes suicide among Black men.

  • The study's researchers surveyed 504 Black men in their late teens through early 20s in rural Georgia.
  • Over several years, the researchers asked the men three times to reflect on whether they experienced economic hardships, abuse, love, depression, and limited access to food or medical care during their childhood.

What they found: Racial discrimination contributed to relationship issues, feelings of mistrust, isolation and suicidal thoughts.

  • Michael Curtis, the study's co-author and a UGA graduate who practices licensed therapy, said in a statement that Black men who feel devalued due to childhood adversity require social support.

Context: Previous research shows racism increases the risks for depression, anxiety and psychological distress throughout a Black person's life.

The bottom line: Steven Kogan, the study's lead author and a UGA human development professor, said in a statement that "more research is needed, but one finding is unequivocal: Loving yourself as a Black person is foundational."

  • "Teaching children and youth to be proud of being Black counters the potential for them to internalize negative messages about Blackness that pervade U.S. society," Kogan said.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

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