National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from
(800) 950-NAMI;

Researchers Surprised by Rate of Attempted Suicide among African Americans

November 8, 2006

A higher than expected 4% of black American survey respondents reported attempting suicide but when distinguishing the diverse subgroups within the back community, results show an alarming 7.5% of Caribbean black men attempted suicide.  The study, lead by researcher Sean Joe of the University of Michigan, based its conclusions on data on 5,181 black respondents of ages 18 and older from the National Survey of American Life, conducted between February 2001 and June 2003.

The research also found a suicide attempt rate of 5% in African American women, the second highest subgroup among the respondents.  Respondents ages 18 to 30 reported widespread suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts, putting the younger subgroup at highest risk.

According to Joe, stigma and lack of access to care could contribute to higher rates of suicide attempt.  Dr. Carl Bell, president and CEO of Community Mental Health Council Inc., also points out that risk of completed suicide can be reduced with protective factors such as social fabrics, access to technology, social skills, and minimized trauma. 

Read the full article from United Press International

For more information:

NAMI's Multicultural Action Center African American Resources