Black Men and Suicide

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

I just read a very interesting article that was published last month online by Dr. O about Black men and suicide.

There was an emotional video that accompanied it, showing the dramatized story of one young man who contemplated suicide because he thought life’s pressures were too much, and that the dream path his mother encouraged him to follow (education and career) would be easier to attain, and brightly lit, when his perception of his reality was completely different.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, you have to watch it for yourself and share with others.

This short film clip and Dr. O’s article touches on a poignant fact that mental health professionals attempt to get all of us to learn and understand; that although we may be products of our parents, we are not them.

So no matter if they abandoned us, committed suicide, were/are abusive or addicts, WE don’t have to follow their paths or the decisions they made. But many people, including Black men struggle with this (especially when outside forces are telling them the opposite) and instead fall deeper into their depression.

According to Dr. Sherry Molock, Psychology Professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Director of Clinical Training for the University’s Psychology Department, poverty and unemployment contribute to the increase of suicide among Black men. Dr. Molock was quoted as saying, “Some of the men I work with have no hope for the future; they simply live day by day.”

To add to this point, Dr. O quoted
Reverend Cecil L. Murray, former pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles as saying, “Despair is increasing, and that despair is economic, political, educational, and social.”

Reverend Murray also spoke of the broken home in the Black community and that young adult males are, “left without a hands-on mentor. Also recall that the divorce rate is 50%; the rate of birth out of wedlock approaches 75% in impoverished communities, so the wheel of difficulty keeps spinning more rapidly.”

Dr. O posed six theories that he presented for this dilemma:

1. Learned Helplessness (major theory of depression)

2. Primitive Rage and Abandonment Anger (abandoned by either one or both parents so males give up on life)

3. Financial Stress (no jobs for uneducated Black men; which means you can’t provide for yourself or your family)

4. Unresolved Early Childhood Abuse (unresolved verbal, emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse endured by males and/or females)

5. Chronic Medical Problems
(no health insurance means no regular check ups, which means a higher probability of disease)

6. Chronic Mental Health Problems (no health insurance means no access to professionals who can evaluate and treat mental health issues including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.)

Dr. O goes into further detail what these six theories mean exactly, and then goes further into the exploration of suicide prevention, intervention, and five points to ponder about depression and suicide.

To read the article in its entirety and to view the video visit:

http://www.askdro.com/2012/03/black-men-and-suicide-enough-said/

Please share this post with others you know; depression, suicide, abuse, and other issues are considered taboo in the Black community, so many of us refuse to discuss the things that haunt and sometimes kill us.

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.

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