Dr. Jones reports in the Narrative Matters (June 27, 2022) “suicide as when a person takes their own life, and a suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with the intent to end their life, but they do not die.”
He also reports in the Narrative Matters (June 27, 2022)) that the list that seems to keep growing for high-profile Black Americans to have died by suicide during 2022 who were under 50-years-old. The Mayor of Hyattsville, Maryland Kevin Ward (44yrs); the former Miss USA and attorney Cheslie Kryst (30 yrs); Walking Dead Star Moses Moseley (31yrs); Ian Alexander, Jr.(26rs), son of Regina King and now adding to the list is DJ Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss.
tWitch, who was best known for being the DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. tWitch had a lot going for him; he had a wife and three children, and they just celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary. But apparently tWitch had something else more critical going on in his life.
Patterson (December 16, 2022) reports that Dr. Rheeda Walker, professor of psychology and director of the University of Houston’s Culture, Risk and Resilience Lab has her professional perspectives for the increased suicides. Dr. Walker comments that “there isn’t a way to ethically test the causes of suicide, but in my research, I have observed that those who reported less positive cultural identity, less spirituality, and more stress associated with navigating our primarily white, mainstream society as a Black person are more vulnerable to thoughts of suicide.”
She also points out that prior to the pandemic, suicide deaths were increasing dramatically for Black adults in the U.S. The rates have continued to increase during the pandemic. The highest rate of death is among Black Americans aged 25-34 years of age.” “Suicide is a preventable public health problem and it’s time we get proactive in addressing it,” said Walker.
Norton (October 15, 2019) reports that historically, Black teenagers in the United States have had lower suicide rates than whites. But studies finds that more Black teens have been attempting suicide in recent years and they are not sure why. Norton references also Dr. Benjamin Shain, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at NorthShore University Health System.
Dr. Shain adds that despite stressors like higher percentages of poverty, racial discrimination, and less access to health one broad possibility is that factors that have traditionally protected black kids from suicidal behavior may be fading. Also, Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director of the nonprofit National Alliance on Mental Illness, believes that societal shifts are bringing black teens more in line with their white peers when it comes to suicidal behavior.
The Narrative Matters!
References:Jones, L. (June 27, 2022). Men’s Health Month: Have Suicide Rates for Black Americans Increased? Why is More Data Pointing to an Increase? Men’s Health Month:
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