Chicago News and Media

In Chicago, a steep rise in suicide among Black people

This story was originally published in a partnership between The Trace and the Chicago Sun-Times

Malik Webber loved to eat. Chicken. Chitlins. Spaghetti. Dressing. He was social, with lots of friends, always a smile on his face.

These are the things Angie Graves remembers most about him. Graves, 48, knew Webber since he was a kid. He lived a few houses down from her on a North Lawndale block where everybody knows everybody, and kids line up to buy snow cones.

Webber died by suicide in March. He was 21.

“You still ask yourself why,” said Graves, who took in Webber when he was a teenager and calls him her son.

She says he didn’t leave a note and doesn’t know why he killed himself, but that Webber had dealt with a lot of grief following the deaths of several family members and friends growing up.

“He struggled,” she said. “He probably was struggling for a long time.”

Midway through 2020, Cook County is seeing an alarming rise in the number of suicides among Black residents. The number of deaths has already matched the total for all of last year, putting 2020 on pace to be the worst year in a decade.

As of July 24, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office had recorded 57 deaths of Black men, women and children from suicide this year. That compares to 56 — which was a nine-year low — for all of 2019.

Since 2010, the average annual number of deaths has been 65.

Read the rest of this story at the following link where it originally appeared.

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