Stacy M. Brown,
The NNPA is taking a closer look at the #stigma of #mentalillness in the #AfricanAmerican community. This is part II in the series.
It’s no secret that #AfricanAmericans – particularly #teens – are committing #suicide at record levels. According to the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention, #suicide rates have increased by 30 percent since 1999 and nearly 45,000 lives were lost to #suicide in 2016 alone.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
A June 2019 study conducted by the Journal of Community Health revealed that #suicide deaths among #black #females aged 13 to 19 rose 182 percent between 2001 and 2017, while the rate among #black #teen #males rose 60 percent during that same period.
From 2015 to 2017, 52 percent of #black #teen #males who died from #suicide used firearms, a method with a fatality rate of nearly 90 percent. Another 34 percent used strangulation or suffocation, which has a fatality rate of about 60 percent.
Among the 204 #black #teen #females who died by #suicide from 2015 to 2017, 56 percent used strangulation or suffocation and 21 percent used firearms, according to the study.
Experts and others have tried to determine why #AfricanAmericans increasingly are choosing to end their lives. Theories have run the gamut – from the lack of strong father-figures to racism and #socialmedia and even the increase in #black wealth.
Whatever the reason, the CDC said it’s important to note that suicidal thoughts or behaviors are both damaging and dangerous and should be treated as a psychiatric emergency.
CDC officials also caution that those who have suicidal thoughts should understand that it doesn’t make one weak or flawed.
“Why are we killing ourselves? The lack of treatment of #mentalillness is the key factor to why #suicide is on the rise in the #blackcommunity,” said Clarence McFerren, a #mentalhealthadvocate and author who admits to previously having #suicidal thoughts as a #teenager.
“Throughout my life, I’ve been faced with difficult situations which festered into five #mentalillness diagnosis – ADHD, #PTSD, severe #depression, bipolar tendencies and #anxieties – and I did not understand what was going on until I took the steps to get help,” McFerren said.
Famed Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author, Dr. Fran Walfish said she’s treated hundreds of thousands of children and teens each year and recently she’s seen the number of troubled teenagers who are cutters and dealing with suicidal thoughts, feelings, ideas, plans, and even attempts of #suicide.
“There is nothing glamourous about #suicide. The one common-denominator shared by all who cut, contemplate or attempt #suicide is that they feel emotionally alone in their families,” said Walfish, the author of “The Self-Aware Parent,” and who appears regularly as an expert child psychologist on the CBS Television series, “The Doctors.”
“They feel there is no one person they can talk to about their pain who will listen, validate, understand, and be a safe warmly attuned place for comfort,” she said.