Upland, CA — What do you think is the connection between these famous people: Marilyn Monroe, Cleopatra, Ernest Hemingway, Adolf Hitler, Donny Hathaway, Don Cornelius, and Phyllis Hyman? The unfortunate connection is, they all died by suicide. Some of the most famous and infamous people in the world who had either fame or fortune decided to take their own life. Just within the past couple weeks we have heard about the tragic deaths of actress Regina King’s son Ian Alexander and former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst both declared suicides. Both people appeared to have had many positive things in their life. People can look one way on the outside and be dealing with a host of problems on the inside, that the world cannot see.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 45,000 people last year. For people between the ages of 35 and 44, it was the fourth leading cause of death while for those between the ages of 10 to 35, it was second, right behind unintentional injury. There were nearly two and a half times as many suicides in the United States as there were homicides.
On an average day in the United States, one Black person dies by suicide every 4.5 hours. Black adolescents and young adults have the highest number and the highest rate of suicide of any age group of Blacks. Suicide was the third-leading cause of death among Black people aged 15 to 19 years, fourth among those aged 20 to 29 years, and eighth among those aged 30 to 39. We must begin to help those in need but how do we identify those in need? Dr. Rachel V. F. Rohaidy, a board-certified psychiatrist with Baptist Health Primary Care says that knowing risk factors for suicide is helpful, but it is not an absolute. “It is about preventing suicide,” she says. Some of the factors which might increase a person’s suicide risk are:
prior suicide attempt, feelings of hopelessness, chronic terminal illness, substance abusers (intoxicated with something). She also stated that 22 percent of suicides in the U.S. involve alcohol and 40 percent of people who consume alcohol have had one suicide attempt in their lifetime.
A significant portion of our population is experiencing severe emotional issues and, at the very least, high levels of stress. The reality is, mental health issues do not care who you are, where you come from, how much money or success you have or where you live. Many people are afraid to share when they are struggling and in need, which prevents people from offering help and assistance. Society has to remove the stigma of mental health problems. We must take precaution regarding our mental health and find ways to cope with our stress, anxiety, and depression.
As Black women we must stop trying to be superwomen, by taking care of everything and everybody before we take care of ourselves. Finally, if you feel you need help do not be ashamed to ask for it. There is help all around. One of the places you can start is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Their number is 800-273-8255. It is available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Do not make a permanent solution(suicide) for a temporary problem. Life is worth living. God can carve a tunnel of hope out of a mountain of despair.
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on.
Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.