Somebody Say Something

This past month, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the fact that it has been 10 years since my suicide attempt.

I thought about how I could have missed out watching my nieces and nephews grow up, how I would have missed the election of the first black U.S. President, and how I would have missed walking into a newly renovated King Edward Hotel for the Best of Jackson party. Just when I was being grateful about still being alive, I hear about Don Cornelius, creator of Soul Train, who shot himself to death this morning. The linked story ends with a brief mention of his three-year probation for domestic violence and recent health issues. Based on that information, I think there was something going on with him psychologically that he did not deal with, and I have a good idea why.

It is time for the black community to stop the stigma associated with treatment for mental illness. Getting help does not make you "less of a man" or whatever the case may be, and suicide isn't just a "white folks' thing." Yes, blacks commit suicide less frequently, but it is still the third leading cause of death for black youth, and most of them are male. Yes, Don Cornelius was 75, but also consider that most of the people who commit suicide are 65 or older, and that is regardless of race.

We need to support each other when it comes to mental issues, not just physical ones. Without that support, hopelessness reigns, and suicides will continue to increase.

Previous Comments

ID
165938
Comment

I'm glad I didn't miss out on meeting you, Latasha. Thanks for speaking up.

Author
lizwaibel
Date
2012-02-01T12:21:14-06:00
ID
165940
Comment

Wow LW, this goes to show that while we may know a person, there's always more to know. I've known you since the Loo days and never knew this about you. I commend you for giving life a second chance. I always say that nothing is THAT bad, but I'm learning that saying that is a huge part of why those who NEED help are not seeking the help they need. Saying that comes across as not understanding that person's issues/problems/troubles. I never want to come across like that. Life is hard. Some breeze thru it; some suffer thru it. Then some choose to end it all together. My heart aches for those who feel that much pain and hurt. Thank you so much for sharing this. Don Cornelius is a permenant fixture in our history and I pray that the way he died does not outlive the life he lead up to that day. Blessings dear!

Author
Queen601
Date
2012-02-01T13:22:06-06:00
ID
165942
Comment

Thanks, Liz, and likewise. :-)

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2012-02-01T13:22:50-06:00
ID
165943
Comment

Thank you, Queen. I think more people are realizing that saying "get over it" doesn't work on depression, especially when you have past trauma or a chemical imbalance in the mix.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2012-02-01T13:25:33-06:00
ID
165945
Comment

thank you for sharing many of us have suffered in silence never telling our friends or family that we went though this period/periods of time but by breaking the silence you are helping someone somewhere. It has taken me year to talk about my suicide attempt as a teen. Only when we start to talk about mental health issues will we start to shed the stigma and realize illness is illness and should be treated as such. :) peace and blessings to you

Author
Laurie Bertram Roberts
Date
2012-02-01T13:56:12-06:00
ID
165947
Comment

Thank you for sharing, Laurie. It will take time before society fully gets that mental illness is not a joke. We don't laugh at cancer patients, right?

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2012-02-01T15:00:27-06:00
ID
165979
Comment

As someone who has dealt with mental illness in family members (including multiple suicide attempts and completed suicides) I applaud your courage in speaking out on this often hidden issue. Caregivers also suffer from the isolation of stigma, to the detriment of their own health. Finding someone who is willing to offer emotional support and understanding is crucial to the well-being of the caregiver and can have a secondary effect on the recovery/continued good health of the person with the illness. Moral criticism has no place in the treatment of the mentally ill as shame and guilt only exacerbate existing problems. Holding someone accountable for their actions is part of treatment--depending on the illness and the patient's capacity to understand the consequences of their actions--but lack of respect for or recognition of boundaries is not a problem exclusive to the mentally ill.

Author
LHB6391
Date
2012-02-05T12:43:26-06:00
ID
165984
Comment

Thanks for choosing life, LW. How else would you have met me and my melodious voice, satire, insight, humor, intellect, knowledge and occasional sophism? I'm deep! And I prefer unrpredictability which causes me to act a little crazy. So shocked and hurt to see Don Cornelius go ot that way. The joy he brought us, even to those who can't dance like me. Soouulll train!

Author
Walt
Date
2012-02-06T17:35:28-06:00
ID
165987
Comment

Thanks, Walt. I imagine that there will be a lot of Soul Train lines at parties and family reunions in Don's memory. And yes, talking to you online has been an interesting experience, to say the least. :-)

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2012-02-06T18:54:27-06:00

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus