Black Youth In California See Double The Statewide Suicide Rate, Far Above Other Groups

The survey focused on suicide and self-harm trends at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Suicide rates among Black youth in California climbed alarmingly high during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The California Department of Public Health published data recently that shows Black youth ages 10-24 in the state experienced the largest suicide rate increase at 28 percent in 2020.

According to the survey, titled “California Suicide and Self-Harm Trends in 2020,” Blacks also accounted for a small percentage for self-harm ED (emergency department) visits but the highest average monthly ED visit rate compared to other racial groups.

“This means that, although there is a small number of people who are Black that visit the ED for self-harm injury, this group is at elevated risk of self-harm ED visits,” the report stated.

Other state data revealed that the suicide rate for Black Californians 18-24 doubled from about 6 of every 100,000 in 2014 to 12 of every 100,000 in 2020.

Black Girls And LGBTQ Youth Are Experiencing High Rates Of Suicide, According To Study

California’s health department said the purpose of data was to highlight suicide and self-harm trends across the state during 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.

For the Black Community, 2020 was a particularly difficult year. Black Americans experienced a high level of anxiety as COVID-19 disproportionately hospitalized and took the lives of Black Americans compared to whites.

At the same time, the murder of George Floyd by now-convicted White former police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020 added to mental health challenges from the pandemic.

The Washington Post reported that anxiety and depression among African Americans skyrocketed compared to other groups in the weeks after the graphic video of Floyd’s death circulated online and was aired on media reports. The rate of Black Americans showing clinically significant signs of anxiety or depressive disorders increased from 36 percent to 41 percent.

CDC: Black Americans Had Highest Drug Overdose Death Rate At Start Of Pandemic

Nationwide, Black teen and young adult suicide rates have risen steadily while declining for whites, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, who have the highest rates, The New York Times reported in 2021. From 2013 to 2019 the suicide rate of Black males 15-24 years old rose by 47 percent, and by 59 percent for Black girls and women of the same age.

The report’s suicide data were compiled from death certificates in the Death Statistical Master Files and California Comprehensive Death Files produced by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Center for Health Statistics and Informatics.

Self-harm data were obtained from the Emergency Department data compiled by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.