Identifying Suicide Risk in Black Youth
Suicide is a serious mental health concern. It often occurs along with symptoms of depression which can be treated with therapy. However, many are reluctant to seek professional help for mental health issues, especially in the Black community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death among Black youth. Therefore, it is important that we identify risk early to prevent actual suicide attempts.
Risk Factors of Suicide
An article published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Horwitz, Czyz, & King, 2015) looked at suicide attempts in teens and young adults. The study identified specific risk factors for engaging in suicidal behaviors. According to the study by Horwitz and his co-authors increased risk of suicide was related to socioeconomic status, severity of suicidal thoughts, past history of suicide attempt, and a history of self-injurious behavior (e.g., cutting). Although these signs help to identify risk, suicide is very difficult to predict.
Common Signs of Depression
Suicide Warning Signs
Helping Your Child Cope with Depression
Below are a few suggestions for helping your teenager and family cope with depression. These are minor coping strategies and may not be specific to your child’s individual needs. Please consider seeking a professional counselor or psychologist in your area for continued treatment and monitoring.
If you have family members who have these behaviors it is important to take it seriously and help them get professional help.
Visit the Therapy for Black Kids website for possible referral sources.
Horwitz, A. G., Czyz, E. K., & King, C. A. (2015). Predicting future suicide attempts among adolescent and emerging adult psychiatric emergency patients. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44(5), 751-761.
Note: A version of this post was authored by Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D. for Psychology Today.
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