Talk of suicide in the African American community remains taboo, regardless of the unfortunate recurrences of black lives lost as a result of mental health related issues.
Within the last year, two female tastemakers, 22-year-old Karyn Washington of “For Brown Girls” (FBG) and Titi Branch, co-founder of Miss Jessie’s hair care products, committed suicide, shocking their loved ones and followers–placing the topic of mental health top of mind for those close to the subject.
Although suicide-related deaths remain low in the black community, it affects black youth at a much higher rate than black adults and is the third leading cause of death among African americans ages 15-24, according to Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Recently, “Orange is the New Black” star Danielle Brooks opened up to Glamour Magazine about her struggles with self acceptance, self image and her contemplating suicide.
The 25-year-old actress, hailing from Greenville, S.C., penned the essay uncovering her big “aha” moment once in Hollywood and how she began her journey to self love:
Being a teenager can be one of the hardest phases of a person’s life. For me, I struggled every day tricking myself into appearing confident. After reading over old journal entries, I realized some days were less successful than others. I came across one that took me aback. In this entry, I had written about how insecure I was about my weight. I wasn’t able to wear the flared jeans and cute tops the other girls wore—they didn’t come in my size. On top of that, I was dark-skinned and had natural hair. By the standard definition of beauty I had absorbed from the world around me, I had three strikes against me: I was too dark, too curly, and too fat.
Brooks goes on to say that because of these insecurities thoughts of suicide soon crept in but no one would have known it looking from the outside in.