Nav: Home

Racial discrimination linked to suicidal thoughts in African American men

October 30, 2019

ANN ARBOR--Suicide deaths among African American men have risen dramatically during the last 20 years, and racial discrimination may be a contributing factor in many cases, say University of Michigan researchers.

A new U-M study found that various forms of discrimination are associated with increased rates of depression. When it involves racial discrimination, the risk of having suicidal thoughts among African American men becomes particularly concerning, the researchers say.

Moreover, experiences with discrimination do not have to be overt to be harmful toward African American men's mental health, says Janelle Goodwill, the study's lead author and a doctoral candidate in social work and psychology.

Goodwill and colleagues Robert Joseph Taylor and Daphne Watkins, both professors of social work and faculty associates at the Institute for Social Research, examined whether experiences of daily discrimination are associated with higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts.

The researchers say their study is important because many empirical studies do not focus on or include African Americans. In addition, factors such as financial insecurity, job instability and physical ailments have all been found to heighten risk of suicide thoughts and attempts, but few studies have looked at discrimination.

Data were drawn from the African American male subsample of the National Survey of American Life, totaling 1,271 people. Participants were asked if they experienced discrimination in their everyday lives, which included being insulted or harassed, being treated with less respect or being perceived as incompetent.

Respondents later identified the primary reason for such experiences. Response options included race, gender, age, ethnicity and body size. Participants also reported if they had ever seriously considered ending their own lives.

The study indicated that the link between racial discrimination and thoughts of suicide was statistically significant.

"Results from our study offer a new contribution to the literature by upholding this relationship among a nationally representative sample of adult African American men," Goodwill said.

Goodwill and colleagues Robert Joseph Taylor and Daphne Watkins, both professors of social work and faculty associates at the Institute for Social Research, suggested that some mental health interventions currently exist that work to address African American men's mental health broadly. Few, however, specifically address suicidal behaviors.

"One viable option may include expanding current mental health interventions to include culturally relevant suicide prevention resources that also offer strategies and techniques for dealing with discrimination," Goodwill said.
-end-
The findings appear in Archives of Suicide Research.

Study: Everyday Discrimination, Depressive Symptoms, and Suicide Ideation Among African American Men

University of Michigan

Related Mental Health Articles:

Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.
Heat takes its toll on mental health
Hot days increase the probability that an average adult in the US will report bad mental health, according to a study published March 25, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Mengyao Li of the University of Georgia, and colleagues.
Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.
The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Skills training opens 'DOORS' to digital mental health for patients with serious mental illness
Digital technologies, especially smartphone apps, have great promise for increasing access to care for patients with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia.
The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: Mental health problems persist in adolescents five years after bariatric surgery despite substantial weight loss
Five years after weight-loss surgery, despite small improvements in self-esteem and moderate improvements in binge eating, adolescents did not see improvements in their overall mental health, compared to peers who received conventional obesity treatment, according to a study in Sweden with 161 participants aged 13-18 years published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.
Cigarette smoke damages our mental health, too
The researchers found that students who smoked had rates of clinical depression that were twice to three times higher than did their non-smoking peers.
Many in LA jails could be diverted into mental health treatment
The largest mental health facilities in the US are now county jails, with an estimated 15% of men and 31% of women who are incarcerated in jails nationally having a serious and persistent mental disorder.
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: Mental health harms related to very frequent social media use in girls might be due to exposure to cyberbullying, loss of sleep or reduced physical activity
Very frequent use of social media may compromise teenage girls' mental health by increasing exposure to bullying and reducing sleep and physical exercise, according to an observational study of almost 10,000 adolescents aged 13-16 years studied over three years in England between 2013-2015, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.
More Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.