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The rising suicide rates among Black children under 13: A Different Cry

Experts will discuss alarming data about suicide rates among Black youth in America. Two families also share the heartbreaking deaths of their sons.

ATLANTA — Editor's note: This story contains graphic descriptions of death by suicide involving children. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255. 

“I still can't get him choking me out of my head."

Those were the words of a 5th grader who later died by suicide in 2019. Unfortunately, Seven Bridges is one of many young children who have died by suicide in America. 

At least 3,600 children under the age of 13 died by suicide in the last two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, young Black children, in particular those younger than 13, are dying by suicide at rates two-times higher than their white peers. 

Bullying and racism are tied to many of these cases, research shows. 

The series, "A Different Cry" explores the rising suicide rates among Black youth in the U.S. The story, told through the eyes of two families who said they lost their sons to suicide, shows how school systems are ill-equipped to handle bullying complaints and how poor records and data are obscuring the true nature of the crisis in America.

Credit: Courtesy of family
Seven Bridges

"He died of being bullied to death," Tami Charles, Seven's mother, said.
"Wow, my kid."

Jeffery Taylor's family said their 7-year-old also died by suicide, though his death was never recorded that way. The day before she found him dead, Lakeshia Chaney said her little boy came to her crying, expressing that he was being bullied at his Texas school.

"That is something that's going to always stay with me," Lakeshia Chaney said. "Probably 'till the day I die. Hearing my baby cry out to me, because that was a different cry."

Credit: Courtesy of family
Jeffery Taylor

On Feb. 1, a streaming special for "A Different Cry" premiered on 11Alive.com and featured on Fire TV and Roku apps. Experts discussed the alarming data and possible solutions to help lower suicide rates. You can watch it below.

A DIFFERENT CRY: Watch the full series

She was gone for 88 minutes and came back to a heartbreaking discovery. Her 10-year-old was dead.

'A different cry' | Mom describes heartbreak after finding 7-year-old son dead

She attempted suicide at 12 years old, but now she helps others cope with pain

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