It’s a much discussed connection. A recent systematic review of studies found that attending church services is not particularly protective against suicidal thoughts (thinking about or planning to commit suicide), but rather against attempted suicide and possibly suicide.
Other types of group activities can create a similar sense of belonging. According to a 2019 study, volunteers with caring responsibilities have a significantly reduced risk of suicide. According to a 1976 study, social support is anything that leads one to “believe that he / she is cared for and loved, valued and part of a network of mutual obligations”.
Jonathan Lee Walton, dean of the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University, sees a different angle on black religiosity that could lower the suicide rate. “It is in black theological tradition that in this life you will face difficulties and difficulties,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is the result of tragic experiences in this nation. This prepares one for the path of desperation, the lonely path of heartbreak, perhaps in a way that white Americans do not learn equally or from a young and formative age. “
Single parents are another possible explanation. Black women are more likely to be single parents than white women and have the lowest suicide rate in any race / gender group. (Suicide is generally less common in women than in men.)
“For single parents, the fact that they are the only financial, instrumental and / or emotional supporter for children can deter suicide, even in times of extreme need,” said Professor Mouzon. Another way single parents can reduce the risk of suicide is to bring together extended family and community support to care for the child. It is possible that this support, once in place, will also provide mental health benefits that reduce the risk of suicide for the mother.
Experts say that some reasons for the relatively low suicide rate among Latinos – who also tend to be poorer and face discrimination – are close social and family networks that can build and maintain resilience, and moral objections to suicide based on religion. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that migrant families can lose some of this protection as they adapt to Latino culture and lose their bond.
While it is impossible to predict who will attempt or complete suicide, the general risk factors that contribute to suicide across all races and ethnic groups are largely documented. These include mental health problems and psychiatric disorders, suicide by others, bullying, substance use, loneliness and social isolation, and exposure to stressful life events.