Ebony Magazine has an important article on “one of Black America’s most tabooed topics… suicide.” Thanks to Network faithful Melanie Funchess for sharing this story.
Mental health concerns are among the biggest and most dangerously tabooed topics in Black America. A comedian once said that the only mental condition in the Black community was “a nervous breakdown”. This speaks to the millions of Blacks in the shadows suffering alone, managing the weight of the world in silent bent knee prayer. Perhaps if we ignore it for long enough or fail to name it, it will magically disappear.
One of Black America’s most tabooed topics recently re-entered our consciousness, our Twitter feeds and our Facebook timelines. Lee Thompson Young, best known as Disney’s “Jett Jackson” and a current TNT leading man, was found dead in his home from a self inflicted gun-shot wound. Black social media was buzzing with demands for mental health awareness, touting this level of intimacy with psychology that felt diametrically opposed to what the realities of Black mental health show.
Although Black suicide has historically been low when compared to other groups, don’t be fooled. From 1981-1994, Black suicide rates grew by a ghastly 83%. Today suicide is the third leading cause of death among young African American men. In 2010, over 80% of all Black suicides were males. Women of most all ethnicities attempt suicide at a higher rate than men, yet men complete the task at a higher rate; a stomach pump does nothing for a gun-shot wound to the head. Black women are less likely than any other American demographic to commit suicide.