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About One in Eight U.S. Blacks Consider Suicide

Study suggests suicide in black communities is similar to general U.S. population

TUESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 12 percent of U.S. blacks have thought about committing suicide, according to the results of a survey conducted between 2001 and 2003 and reported in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The results suggest that the black community is just as affected by suicide as the general population.

Sean Joe, M.S.W., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from the National Survey of American Life to examine the prevalence and correlates of suicide ideation, planning and attempts among black Americans of African and Caribbean descent.

Survey respondents reported an 11.7 percent prevalence of suicide ideation and 4.1 percent prevalence for attempts. Among black Americans, Caribbean men had the highest rate of attempts compared with African American men and women of both ethnicities. The greatest risk for progressing from ideation to planning or attempts was found within the first year of ideation.

"Advancing research on the transition from suicide planning to attempt is vital to the efficacy of health care professionals' ability to screen blacks at risk for suicide," the authors write. "Physicians have an important role to play in the prevention of suicide among black patients, given our results that a majority of attempters sought care from a health professional."

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