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Suicides among Black teenagers continue to rise at startling rates.

Consider these sobering facts: For the first time, the suicide rate of Black children in between the ages of 5 and 11 doubled between 1993 and 2013 while the rate among white children had declined, according to a 2015 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Suicides by hanging nearly tripled among Black boys and suicide has become the third leading cause of death among Black people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Why are more Black teens committing suicide? Depression and mental illness are the most common factors although, historically, these issues have not been addressed with doctors or mental health professionals.

Last year, a 14-year-old black girl in Florida broadcast her own suicide on social media. Naika Venant fashioned a noose out of a scarf, hanged herself from the bathroom door and livestreamed her suicide on Facebook Live.

Jomo K. Johnson, pastor and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Savannah, began a hunger strike June 6 to call attention to the rising suicide rate. Johnson started his hunger strike on the one year anniversary of the death of Kalief Browder, the teen who spent three years in solitary confinement in Rikers Island, New York without being charged.

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