Study: Black women at highest risk for suicide

A new study from Boston University released on Wednesday suggests that Black women aged 18 to 65 have the highest risk for suicide. Photo by Pexels/Pixabay

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- A new study out of Boston University released on Wednesday indicated that Black women age 18 to 65 have the highest risk for suicide irrespective of their socioeconomic status.

The findings of the study, which revealed that Black women in the highest income bracket had a suicide rate 20% higher than white women, were posted online in the journal PLOS One.

Researchers from Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and Howard University reviewed the National Inpatient Sample database, the largest all-patient database in the U.S., from 2003-2015.

They identified and collected demographic data -- including insurance type, smoking status, and exposure to domestic violence -- on women age 18-65 who were hospitalized with diagnoses of self-inflicted injuries or attempted suicide.

The researchers then used a computer model to test how race and socioeconomic status interacted to determine suicide risk.

"Our findings were surprising because most studies usually show that the rate of suicide was higher in White women in the U.S.," corresponding author Temitope Ogundare, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Boston University.

"However, when we begin to look at the intersection of race and income, a different picture begins to emerge."

The researchers said the findings allow healthcare experts to identify populations that have the greatest risk of suicide.

"In public health, we want to target interventions for the most vulnerable population," Ogundare said. "In addition, results from this model continue to highlight racial disparities in health outcomes and the need to approach public health interventions through a racial justice lens."

Ogundare said that she believes interventions targeted at helping women who have experienced domestic violence, lack of universal health coverage, as well as addressing racial discrimination, must become part of an overall suicide prevention strategy.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. among individuals aged 10-34 years of age and the fourth leading cause of death for individuals aged 35-44 years.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.