Tuesday morning iconic fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her Manhattan apartment. She hanged herself in an apparent suicide and was found by her housekeepers. Police say that spade left a note that addressed her husband and 13-year-old daughter; there are no details revealing what was said in the note.
Although mental health awareness month ended in May, the conversation doesn’t have to stop there.
Many people silently suffer from many forms of mental illness with depression being one of the most common and Black/African Americans suffer the most silent tears. Did you know that there are different types of depression? There is depression which can be brought on by the loss of a loved one by death, divorce, breakup and even thyroid disorder. Chronic and Clinical depression or dysthymia has more lasting effects. Those that suffer from these types of depression often feel sad, a sense of hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities and can even experience body pains. Sometimes it can be caused by genetics, hormone imbalances, and certain medications.
With the exception of Black celebrities that have spoken about their mental health issues such as Jennifer Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, Michelle Williams, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and several others, the conversation of mental health awareness is still largely absent in the public and local Black communities. Though there has been some progress made over the years (slow progress is better than no progress), racism continues to have an impact on mental health in the Black community; especially amongst Black males. Given the heightened racial climate and police brutality in America against young Black males and females, depression in the Black community seems to be an increasing issue.
Black/African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological disorders whites according to MentalHealthAmerica.net. Yet Black/African Americans, especially those with higher levels of education are still less likely to seek mental health concealing than their white counterparts.
Cultural circumstances can play a major role in mental illness in the Black community, from racism, poverty, diet, colorism, the sense of inadequacy among your peers the list goes on; however most African Americans who grow up with religious backgrounds are taught to pray it away or leave all of your “burdens at the altar” not really being able to identify what “it” is, psychologically the mind is being trained to ignore whatever you’re dealing with and carry on to the next day. This eventually causes individuals to suppress their emotions which can ultimately lead to more severe issues in the future. Although pray is indeed powerful and can change any situation, God uses people as vessels and gives them the tools that they need to help others who are dealing with the stresses and discomforts of life.
It is very important that we all take care of our mental health. If you or someone you know may be dealing with depression or any other mental health issue, please talk to someone that you can trust. Be it a friend, family member, religious council etc. There is always someone who can help.