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October 1969

Black Suicide

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Psychoanalytic Clinic for Training and Research, Department of Psychiatry, College of physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University; St. Luke's Hospital; and Harlem Hospital, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(4):407-422. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740220023003

MOST whites and blacks are surprised to learn that among young urban Negroes of both sexes suicide is a serious problem or that it is, for example, twice as frequent among New York Negro men between the ages of 20 and 35 as it is among white men of the same age group. The high frequency of suicide among older whites has led to the misconception that suicide is a "white" problem, obscuring the fact that among young adults, particularly in urban areas, it is actually more of a black problem.

If suicide among young blacks has been obscured or ignored, the high frequency of homicide by Negroes has not been similarly neglected. Not generally realized, however, is that black homicide reaches its peak at the same 20-to-35-age period as black suicide. Of what significance are these facts? Is there a relationship between black suicide and black homicide? Do the

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