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Despair-Driven Mortalities Surge Among Blacks In New Shift

By Claire Moraa

  • Despair-driven deaths among Blacks have tripled in the last ten years highlighting a worrying trend
  • Black women also have the highest risk of suicide compared to women of other racial groups

A meticulous analysis of data reveals that despite a long-standing perception of suicidal deaths being predominantly prevalent in the White community, recent trends have seen a significant surge in Black communities. A decade ago, despair-driven deaths among Whites was approximately double that of Blacks, at 72.15 per 100,000 population compared to 36.24 per 100,000. Fast forward to 2022 and the rate for Blacks has tripled to a staggering 103.81 for every 100,000.

Why This Matters: It’s no secret that certain racial or ethnic communities face unique challenges or systemic barriers that exacerbate feelings of despair, leading to higher rates of mortality within those communities compared to others. Black communities have endured centuries of systemic racism, discrimination, and intergenerational trauma, which can contribute to feelings of hopelessness and despair.

To add onto these feelings of hopelessness, the suicidal rates among Blacks are grossly underreported which could imply that these numbers are higher. With suicide being one of the top leading causes of death, it’s imperative to get the accurate numbers and the reasons as to why certain demographics are choosing to end their lives. Drug overdose is one of the oldest and major causes but the COVID-19 pandemic has also topped the list.

The pandemic played a part in robbing the world of precious lives by exacerbating a trend that was already worsening. There was a sharp escalation in such deaths among all groups. People had to stay indoors for months in solitude, deteriorating mental health, rising economic insecurity, and a rapidly escalating overdose crisis. And while there has been deliberate efforts to shield the younger demographic from the alarming trend of despair-driven deaths, the cost of mental health has also been rising.

Situational Awareness: To address the issue is to first admit that there is an issue. The first step is to combat the stigma surrounding mental illness within the Black community. The lack of culturally sensitive approaches in mental health treatment can further exacerbate disparities among the different races. Discrimination and prejudice in treatment should be thrown out and only then, can we start addressing the root cause of these despair-driven mortalities with the hope of reversing the outcomes.

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