High Rates of Suicide Among Young Black Men In Rural Areas: Study Reveals Systemic Failure


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By Clayton Gutzmore, The Atlanta Voice

New study conducted by the University of Georgia finds young Black men in rural areas are dying by suicide at alarming rates. (iStock.com/peopleimages)

Suicide is a sensitive topic because of how damaging it is for the person who does the act and the lives of people around them who need to cope. A recent study from the University of Georgia (UGA) reveals that young Black men from rural areas are dying by suicide at alarming rates. The study explains that one in three rural Black men reported they recently experienced suicidal ideation or thoughts of death. These thoughts stem from childhood adversity and racism. Steven Kogan and Michael Curtis are the co-authors of the study. They are human development and family studies scholars. They explain why everyone needs to care about this subject, what signs we can look for in the young black men around us, and why we need to play a role in prevention because the system won’t.


UGA’s study on Young black men and suicide was released on March 26. The study was conducted over ten years and surveyed over 500 young black men. Participants in the study were in their late teens and were followed by researchers until their early 20s. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for African Americans between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide is particularly prevalent among Black men, who die by suicide at a rate more than four times that of Black women.

What Kogan and Curtis uncovered with the study is that growing up in a low-resource environment and experiencing racial discrimination during young adulthood makes it challenging to engage in healthy, trusting relationships. Strong feelings of mistrust and caution toward social relationships can lead to feelings of isolation, which in turn can prompt thoughts of death and suicide.

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Learn about organizations and individuals working on racial repair, redemption, and reconciliation.

Read about the recent rise in suicide rates for Black Americans as a whole.

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