Blacks & Suicide

I recently watched a video called "Things Black People Don't Do", one of the things on the list was "commit suicide".  How true is this?  In the past few years there has been quite a few cases of suicide amongst black celebrities.  I'm sure there has been more cases that weren't announced to the public.  Going to therapy has not been something that is normally practiced or promoted in the black community.  We are taught that when we are having problems, we either pray or go to church.  Now while these are two great solutions, I believe they are just part of the equation towards helping you with your problems.  Suicide is usually caused by depression, and not just from having one bad day, but from a number of occasions.  Depression doesn't know color, it can inflict itself on anyone of any race.  Because we are usually taught that what we are going through isn't real or is just a phase, we see no reason to seek help.

What we need to realize is depression is in fact very real and has a greater affect on our lives than we realize.  In my case, it felt like a literal burden on my back.  I feel that if any race should know what it's like to have feelings of depression, it should be us, after what we've gone through for generations.  Believe it or not, the feelings formed by our ancestors have a way of residing throughout generations.  Just like every other human, we need an outlet and usually it needs to be someone to talk to.  I know it can be hard to find someone who will actually take you seriously, especially if they believe that depression isn't something that happens to black people.  As a people we need to come to the realization that as strong as our community is, we are not above experiencing human emotions.  

We need to make ourselves available to listen to those in need.  It seems that every time we have a case of suicide within our community, it's a shock to everyone.  Now either this person sought help from family and friends, but received no type of guidance or they were too embarrassed to seek help in fear they would be labeled as "different". Instead of waiting for more suicides, let's start helping each other now, and remember depression has no age limit, you may find someone who has been experiencing it for years and has just found the courage to seek help.

We shouldn't encourage each other to keep silent on an illness that is serious and sometimes life threatening. Depression should not be seen as something that is "unpopular" but instead as something that is taking lives everyday.  Many of us don't even realize we're going through it because we constantly brush every little thing off, afraid that we may appear as downers.  It's not until the days of not wanting to get out of bed or not wanting to smile comes that we realize we have a problem.  By this time, our case is rather serious. I ask that instead of just seeing this a phase, pray and find someone to talk to.  Don't wait until you are no longer in control of your emotions.  Seek help today.

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