Suicide in the Black Community – Not a “White Thing”

Suicide is one of those social issues that we don’t typically like to talk about because we worry about those who are struggling. We are living in the time right now where we have to have the conversation. We are in a pandemic, and people have experienced change at a pace that’s just not normal. If you are or someone you know is struggling with thoughts that may cause harm, please reach out to a crisis counselor by texting 74141.  

Unlike bringing awareness to other social issues, suicide awareness comes silently; it’s there. Still, you don’t see much information at the forefront about it. For a good reason, though, because we want to protect our friends and loved ones who suffer silently.

The truth is that suicide in the black community is a tough conversation. Statistically, older White males are at higher risk of suicide, but recently there has been an increase in Black suicide. To many, it’s just something that Black people do not do. Possibly this idea comes from what we as Black people have to tell ourselves over and over again. And that cadence is to be strong with the increase that we see in deaths by suicide among Black males. As a matter of fact, the suicide death rate for men is more than three times the rate for women in Black populations, according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). We are learning more and more that being strong is connectedness and reaching out for help. We have to tell ourselves the truth about what being strong is, for real! 

So many people and organizations care about you. One of those organizations is right here in Chicago, Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health, an organization that bridges the community and mental health gap. Owner, Christopher LeMark, said in a magazine interview, “I felt broken and powerless. This emotional moment would motivate me to go to counseling. Therapy was difficult at first, but after experiencing transformative moments, I wanted to share this feeling with the people.” [Quote from Sheen Magazine: Christopher LeMark Is Dedicated to Bring Awareness to Mental Health – By Kelli Webb]

There are resources right in your community, right in your neighborhood right around you that are happy to look out for you, that are happy to take up calls for you; they understand that you don’t have to be “strong” when you’re faced with complex issues.

 Talking to someone about your issues is normal. And if you are someone who is struggling or you know someone who is struggling and may have thoughts that can harm themselves, you can contact the crisis hotline by texting 74141. 

Some doctors specialize in helping individuals who are having a hard time and who may feel like they are in a place where they are trapped in a lonely space. Some people specialize and embrace you and connect you with other people to build a pillar of support around you, so you won’t have to face feelings alone in those hard times. Regardless, reach out to someone and allow friends who understand the struggle to support you. None of us are exempt from feeling the feelings that trigger self-harming thoughts. Still, many have learned techniques and acquired the tools to get us through those feelings without harming ourselves. 

Conversation related to this articles starts at 5:15 in video.

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