We can’t stress enough about the growing epidemic of suicide among young Black men, and this story supports our frustration for this issue. In case you missed it, Dr. Dwight Owens of AskDrO.com interviewed with Real Health Magazine to inform readers and Americans on the problem with young Black males and suicide (click here to read the article). Around the middle of December, in Macon, GA, tragedy struck a local family when a 19-year old man shot and killed a 7-year old boy, and then turned the gun on himself.
19-year old Vonn Gibbons, Jr. was at his mother’s home early Saturday when he shot Jalen Griffin, a 7-year old boy who was being babysat by Gibbon’s mother. After killing Griffin, Gibbons turned the gun on himself and shot himself in the chest. Police later arrived at the scene, but were clueless to the origins of the violent outbreak. At the time, Gibbons was a college student attending Macon State College, and reportedly had no erratic or strange behavior. Gibbons’ mother, Cheryl Cole, was asleep when the shots were fired. Following the arrival of authorities, she was detained and held for questioning. Apparently grief-stricken and distraught, Cole professed that she wanted her “baby back”, and also named the tragedy as one she never wished on anyone else.
Following the investigation, police determined that Gibbons intentionally shot Griffin, but according to neighbors, he was “a very nice young man.” So what happened? We simply CANNOT stress enough on teaching and educating our young Black men on ways to prevent depression, anger issues and suicidal thoughts from ruling their lives. Could it be Gibbons’ adjustment to college life that made him depressed? Were his grades failing? Was he being rejected among his peers? Was he involved with extracurricular activities or sports? There could be a number of untold “waypoints” which determined Gibbons behavior for suicidal or dangerous actions. Until we know further information, investigation is our best bet for this local tragedy.
We always hope that our families will live healthy, full lives and make the right decisions. However, what happens when one of our family members become depressed, anxious, or display uncontrolled emotions? In this case, they may be suffering from a mental issue and not know it. A healthy mind makes for a healthy body; taking the Dr. Owens Mental Health Prescreen Assessment will ensure a healthier start on life!