How can we break the stigma and raise awareness?
Because of Kryst’s bright personality and professional success, her death shocked many. The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner recently confirmed that the former Miss USA did indeed die by suicide.
“In her private life, she was dealing with high functioning depression, which she hid from everyone — including me, her closest confidant — until very shortly before her death,” April Simpkins, Kryst’s mother, shared with “Extra.”
Having candid discussions about the importance of prioritizing mental health and all the factors that could impact it could help lower the rates of suicide and end the mental health stigma.
“Being real about your mental health often means being real about past and current trauma…,” Barlow said. For a Black woman, she says this might mean having “silent conversations with herself after she’s achieved all the goals she’s been told to make — education, career, and lifestyle.”
But while these conversations are beneficial, having access to reliable mental health care is crucial to improving physical and mental health in Black communities.
According to the American Psychology Association (APA), while Black people are just as likely to develop a mental health condition as white people, they are less likely to receive treatment. Only about 37%Trusted Source of Black adults in the United States with a mental health condition received treatment in 2020 compared to 46% of the adult population as a whole.
What can we do to prevent suicide?
This could start with educating yourself about suicidal ideation and what that looks like.
If you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, understanding when these thoughts happen and why could help you learn to manage them. A good place to start could be keeping a journal to track distressing thoughts and feelings.
Prevention could also start with improving access to healthcare, including mental health, for all people and addressing the stigma surrounding mental health.
Open and honest discussions about the truth of suicidal ideation and its prevalence in Black communities are crucial, as many individuals keep their experience to themselves, fearing judgment.
“We’re all just carrying this weight, and we don’t even realize until it becomes so heavy that we can’t crawl from underneath it,” Weaver said. “Crying looks like weakness or asking for help looks like weakness, but that’s really the strongest we can be.”
If you need help immediately If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available right now. You can:
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
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