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Suicide Rates Increase for Black and Brown Americans, According to New CDC Report

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Suicide rates fell slightly for white Americans but increased amongst Black and Brown Americans in recent years, according to a newly released report.

Published this month by the CDC by authors Sally C. Curtin, M.A., Kamiah A. Brown, and Mariah E. Jordan, B.S., the report drew its information from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and National Vital Statistics System databases.

In their findings, the authors found that, from their focused years between 2000 and 2020, suicide rates increased significantly amongst Black Americans. 

Recording the highest increase out of any racial or ethnic group, age-adjusted suicide rates comparatively skyrocketed in 2020, increasing 53% from the percentage during its decline from 2000 to 2007. For every 100,000 Americans, Black Americans recorded an average of 7.8 deaths in 2020- up from an average of 5.1 in 2007. 

A similar pattern emerged amongst Brown Americans. After remaining steady for 12 years, from 2000 to 2012, the suicide rate increased by 29% in 2020, increasing from an average of 5.8 deaths per 100,000 Americans to an average of 7.5, according to the report. 

Inversely, white Americans showed an improvement in their recorded rates. After increasing 51% from 2000 to 2018, they recorded a seven percent decline in 2020, averaging 16.9 deaths per 100,000 Americans in 2020 and 18.1 deaths in 2018. 

“It is well documented that COVID increased some of the risk factors for suicide, including mental health issues, substance use and financial stress,” author Curtin said per online magazine Medical XPress. “However, these risk factors increased more for younger people and minority groups.”

Reports also found that, throughout the pandemic, Black and Brown Americans were the most affected when it came to their mental health. A study from the science journal Plus One found that they recorded higher rates of depression and anxiety as a result of COVID-19. 

Surveying nearly 692,000 people in both the U.S. and the U.K. from January 2021 to June 2021, the study’s researchers found that Black Americans were “1.16 times more likely” to receive a diagnosis for depression when compared to white Americans. Hispanic Americans were also 1.23 times more likely to be depressed when compared to white Americans. 

When it came to anxiety, the number of Black survey participants who reported having severe anxiety increased by about five percent from pre-pandemic levels. 

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