September is Suicide Awareness Month

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Even though black people have the lowest rates for suicide, it is still a problem that has to be stopped. “In the black community suicide is very stigmatized, we talk about ‘Oh, we’ll pray for you’ and ‘Oh, it’s not that serious,” said Elizabeth James, Miss Sophomore. “But it is that serious.”

On Sept. 20, the sophomore class presented #MyStoryMatters. They had a suicide awareness and prevention table from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The table held suicide awareness bracelets, temporary semicolon tattoos, and more. “We’re trying to raise awareness in the black community,” said Jeffery Ugwuanyi, Mr. Sophomore. “Because it’s not something that’s talked about.” Raising awareness is a good idea because studies show that social and emotional support has been shown to lower suicide rates among black teens. Some of the popular reasons for suicides are: social media bullying and regular bullying, fear of never being good enough, loss of hope, loss of a loved one, or some form of abuse.

Ugwuanyi applies a temporary tattoo to a student at #MyStoryMatters table. Photo by Natese Dockery

Social media is good and bad. Good because it provides a way for people to connect and network. But every up has a down. Some people feel the need to bully others on social media. Some bullying victims ignore it or block their bullies, but others let it get to them. They let the bullying create inner doubt. This inner doubt grows into something bigger, and this can cause suicide. There are several things you can do to stop getting attacked from someone online: block them, report them, log off, or simply delete your account. This does not always stop the depression, though. Some of steps recommended to healing are: talking to someone you trust, doing activities you enjoy, and taking care of yourself. It is hard but talking to someone can help. Find a counselor, teacher, friend, or a parent but find someone to talk to.

There are other ways that have been proven to improve self-esteem and get rid of bad feelings. Exercise, healthy living, and music are ways to reduce stress load and can help with depression. Sweating and releasing toxins have been proven to help mental health, which can aid in lowering suicide and self-harm rates. Another way is listening to music. Music can put you in a better mood or make you realize you are not alone. One particular artist may tell a story that resonates inside of someone.

Suicide is never the answer. Committing suicide creates nothing but more pain for your friends and family. “People make permanent decisions based off of temporary circumstances,” James said, who actually had two friends commit suicide within the same year. “It’s very serious, and it’s something we need to start discussing as a black community.”

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