Suicide is a serious and complex issue that affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. The suicide rate among males in 2020 was four times higher than the rate among females (CDC, 2022). Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States,3 with 45,979 deaths in 2020. This is about one death every 11 minutes. The number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher.
This week, another tragedy struck when the world lost #DJTwitch We all had the same reaction when we got the news, "but he looked so happy ."Black men often have to wear masks when they navigate the world, and the number one reason is fear of looking weak. They receive messages early on about being a man, the concept of machismo being ingrained into our young boys daily through media and cultural values. Talking about mental health in the Black community has long been an issue because of stigma and shame; many find it hard to reach out for help due to fear of being perceived as weak or "talking about your business."
Suicide often results from various factors, including mental health conditions, traumatic life events, and social isolation. It is not a sign of weakness or a lack of willpower, and it is not as telling someone to "snap out of it" or "you are being self-fish."
I want to talk more about prevention and what we can do as a community and individuals.
Consider the following recommendations:
Strengthen economic supports
Finances matter. Financial stress is one of the top reasons for stress.
Create protective environments
Healthy support systems matter; we can't do it alone. We need people that support us and love us.
Teach coping and problem-solving skills
Learn emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills.
Engage in therapy.
Identify and support people at risk
Learn to identify signs and how to intervene in a mental health crisis (We have a course).
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, it is essential to seek help as soon as possible. If you need any information on the interventions mentioned above, don't hesitate to reach out. I know this can be difficult, but many resources are available to support those in crisis. Some options include:
Calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Texting the Crisis Text Line at 741741
Seeking help from a mental health professional
Connecting with support groups or communities
It is also important to remember that suicide is preventable. By being there for one another, reaching out when we are struggling, and creating a supportive and inclusive community, we can help to reduce the risk of suicide.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please seek help. You are not alone, and there is hope.