An estimated 8.3 million adults reported thinking about suicide in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also believed to be the second leading cause of death for Americans between 10 and 34.

This explains why it was startling when University of Houston professor of psychology Rheeda Walker found current approaches to suicide prevention take a "one-size-fits-all approach" after analyzing data regarding suicidal thoughts and deeds.

"It's important to realize that in the United States twice as many people die by suicide as by homicide, and as we talk more about suicide I want us to resist assuming that suicide risk is the same for everybody," said Walker, who reported her findings on sociodemographic and mental health predictors of suicide thoughts and attempts in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

She and her team examined the data put together from a survey done between 2008 and 2013 on over 336 thousand adults while categorizing them racially.

On average, 1 person dies by suicide every 11 minutes in the US. Лечение Наркомании from Pixabay.

They found that Asian or Pacific Islanders (A/PIs), American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN), whites, were more predisposed to suicide if they had year-long depression or were dependent on alcohol. Marijuana usage also presented as a factor but only for whites and multiracial adult groups, while having a low income amongst A/PIs tripled their likelihood of suicide attempts.

"Risk factors are not universal among ethnic groups," said Walker, who admits it is very common for mental health professionals to point to depression as the immediate reason for death by suicide. "Depression was not a meaningful predictor of suicide attempts or thoughts for all of the groups." Walker's previous work identified protective factors among black adults as the reason depression may not rise as a precursor.

"Consistently across studies we see that African Americans are very religious compared to other groups and that may buffer the impact of depression in those groups," said Walker.

Walker also distinguishes predictors for suicide attempts from thinking of the act.

"Overall, only psychological distress was consistently associated with suicide ideation and attempts. Other predictors were associated with suicide ideation or attempts and for some racial or ethnic groups, but not others," said Walker.

This study helps put together new suicide risk profiles needed for America, where the racial and ethnic composition is rapidly changing. Current U.S. Census Bureau projections suggest that the majority of the American population will be composed of "minority" individuals by 2044.

"When we ask people if they've thought about suicide in the past, but we don't note their race, or overemphasize depression and underplay their marijuana use, for example, we miss important opportunities to generate a risk profile that can lead to better prediction."