One of the most over looked issues in the black community is Suicide and Mental Health. In many black families mental health doesn't exist. It's something that is typically swept under the rug. There is also a stigma, that being strong is the only way you deal with your mental health. Black people face many risk factor some includes experience of racism, higher rates of unemployment, lack of resources, lack of funding, food insecurities, lack of nutritional education, limited access to care, police brutality, & lack of educational funding. All of these factors leads to anxiety and depression. They're also, all reason to seek help.
In 2019, there was a decrease in deaths by suicide overall, however in the black community that has increased by 7%. This is mainly in our Black Youth and Black LGBTQ+ community. One important factor is that there's a lack of mental health services in black communities. This prevents awareness of mental health and suicide within our community. It also, makes it harder to break the stigmas that black families hold about suicide and mental health. Remember, being strong and holding everything in is not the only way. Don't be shy of therapy or afraid to reach out. You're not crazy because you need help.
Instead of seeking help for depression and anxiety, many resort to self-medication (drugs, opioids, alcohol, etc.) or isolation in attempt to solve their problems on their own. This issue of masking pain is happening especially amongst black men. Most men in our culture grow up being told that you're weak if you cry or show emotion. They're told to handle it on there own and "that's what girls do". This only results in our black men feeling shut off when it comes to expressing their pain; which then leads to self-medicating.
In closing, you don't have to get through it by yourself. It's ok to reach out for help when you need. Don't lock your feelings and emotions in. Take things day by day. Talk to a therapist. Know that this difficult time won't last forever and please understand that we want you here with us. We need you here. There's help out there. There's people who love you and want to see you happy. If you are having suicidal thoughts and don't know where else to turn call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255.