The Conversation: Suicide a growing cause of death among Black Ohioans

Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation

The times we are living in, the COVID pandemic, social unrest, and economic concerns, are taking a toll on mental health. It’s affecting our Black communities in ways that are unimaginable. For some, it’s a pain they can’t live with.

Harvard researchers tell us Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than whites. But, there is alarming new research about young Black people killing themselves.

“It has been absolutely traumatic for our clients,” said Reggie Robinson. He works with Health Recovery Services, which provides counseling services to six southeastern Ohio counties.

Between COVID-19, abuse disorders, anxiety, and depression, five Ohioans commit suicide each day. Even before the pandemic, suicides were trending up.

“From 2014 to 2018m suicides increased about 24 percent generally among whites, and 53.8 percent among African Americans,” said Robinson.

White Ohioans have just over 15 suicides per 100,000 people. Black Ohioans have just over 7 per 100,000.

Those numbers flip for Black and white teenagers.

“There are a number of health disparities when you talk about African Americans in general compared to white Americans. And certainly that seems to be exasperated among young people,” said Robinson.

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