As the third leading cause of death for Black men, suicide can often be linked to feelings of depression, anxiety, anger issues, physical ailments, life’s woes and other symptoms. Back in October we witnessed the suicide completion of Kenny McKinley, a young, Black rising star-athlete and wide-receiver with the Denver Broncos. In conjunction with this event, as well as others which have occurred, Dr. Dwight A. Owens of AskDrO.com recently sat down with Real Health magazine to give insight on suicide in the Black male population in the article “Blues Brothers”.
(click on the image to read Dr. Owens’ full interview)
African-American men usually complete suicide for various reasons, one of them mainly due to the absence of a role model. Because they grow up fatherless or without a positive male figure, they are often led astray, misunderstood, or criticized without having someone to counsel or empathize with their growing pains. In essence, because the confused feelings of developing an identity prove to be overwhelming, they are prone to complete suicide as a way to “end it all”. Another reason for the growing rate of Black male suicide stems from lack of education and discussion within the community. Many times, suicide (or mental issues for that matter) isn’t taught to many African-Americans. As a community, if someone is acting irrational or behavior strangely, we write it off as a “really bad attitude”, rather than seeking answers from professional sources. What’s unfortunate is that many young Black males know about drugs, violence and bad behavior BEFORE they’re educated in helpful subjects, such as mediation, healthy habits and beneficial outlets.
We can alleviate this epidemic of suicide in young Black males. One way to help prevent this issue is education. Allowing pre-teen and teenage boys to express themselves through counseling and peer mediation and group discussions can ensure that they all receive ample information on suicide prevention, anti-depression exercises, and other helpful tips on living and thinking healthy. Another way to reduce the rate of incoming suicide rates is to encourage extracurricular activities, such as sports, arts & crafts or writing. Allowing adolescent men an avenue of outlet for pent-up emotions and feelings decreases depression by an alarming amount, which will also reduce their risk of contemplating, less completing suicide.
What are other ways the Black community can use to prevent suicide amongst not only our young Black men, but amongst Americans as well? Let us hear your thoughts on the blog!