The researchers found that youth who have been diagnosed with depression are six times more likely to commit suicide than their peers, and Black youth have a much higher suicide rate than their White peers.
"Adolescent depression is a dire public concern in the United States and even greater concern among Black adolescents, where, if left untreated, can disproportionately lead to an escalation of various mental disorders, academic failure and related issues," said study author Wenhua Lu from Rutgers University-Camden.
"Treatments such as interpersonal psychotherapy may work better for this population," Lu added.
They examined 792 black adolescents, ages 11 to 21, who lived in nine public housing developments in four major U.S. cities (including two in North Philadelphia).
The adolescents completed a survey that contained a mixture of 20 negatively and positively worded items - such as such as "I felt sad," "I enjoyed life," "My appetite was poor," and "People are unfriendly to me".
Previous studies, they explain, have shown that Black adolescents who live in disadvantaged community environments - for example, urban public housing - are more likely to experience elevated levels of substance abuse, violence, and poverty.
"Black adolescents who are exposed to such environmental and social risk factors without sufficient social-support networks are at a higher risk of depression," says Lu.
The research appears in Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research. (ANI)