What We Misunderstand About Suicide among Black Americans
February 18, 2022
There is a common misconception that Black Americans are less affected by suicide than their White peers. In reality, suicide rates have been rising among Black people, particularly youth and young adults. According to experts, suicide research has focused mostly on White populations, leading to gaps in our understanding of suicide among Black populations. Studying the socioeconomic and cultural factors that put people at risk for suicide, such as racism or stoicism, can help inform more effective prevention efforts. “Culture, environment influences suicide risk,” said Lillian Polanco-Roman, an associate professor of psychology at the New School for Social Research. “That, I think, is recognized. But to what extent and in what ways, we still need more research.” Polanco-Roman and other experts say there is an urgent need for more culturally responsive mental health care and suicide prevention strategies that reduce risk and enhance protective factors for Black people.
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