Reuters 19 May 2015
Suicide rates have fallen among young white children in the U.S. but they’ve gone up among black youngsters, according to a new study of suicides in kids under age 12.
Suicide is rare among these very young children, but it does happen, lead author Jeffrey A. Bridge of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio told Reuters Health by email.
The difference in suicide rates between young children of the two races is masked by the overall suicide rate for all young children, which remained stable during those 20 years, he and his colleagues wrote in JAMA Pediatrics.
“When I initially looked at the results I thought we had made a mistake in the analyses because historically white youth in the United States have had higher suicide rates than black youth,” said Bridge.
He and his colleagues examined U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records on suicide among kids from five to 11 years old between 1993 and 2012.
A total of 657 children died by suicide during that time – an average of 33 per year, the researchers found. About 84 percent of the deaths occurred among boys. Hanging and suffocation was the most common method.