This week’s post is by Ebonie Freeman, who is a Texan, a wife, an Army brat, a middle child and a newly accepted graduate student. “I do want to make it clear that my story is just one Black woman’s perspective/experience with mental health as it relates to self-harm, suicide and depression,” she writes. “It’s a taboo topic in society, and within the African American/Black community it’s even MORE taboo! I can only share what my Black experience has been.”
Suicidal thinking isn’t always caused by mental illness, but it can be a fast ticket to a diagnosis, possible commitment to a psychiatric ward and even a police record in some cases _ and such things can stay with you. So much of the silence around this experience is tied to concerns about how it could affect the rest of our lives. Our education. Our careers.
This week’s post asks for your help. Please share it widely, because you never know who’s “been there.”
Susan Stefan is one of the most well-known mental health lawyers in the U.S., and she’s written books about discrimination against people with “psychiatric disabilities,” with an emphasis on personal stories. She’s now writing a book about laws and policies around the world related to people who are suicidal, and she wants to hear your experiences. What works? What doesn’t? What makes things worse?
You can help her by taking this short, anonymous survey. And if you’re willing to do an in-depth interview, as we have, please contact Susan at stefansusan (at) gmail (dot) com. If the survey link has any hiccups, please let her, or us, know.
For Veterans Day today, here is our interview with Army veteran Ted Spencer about his experience as part of a pioneering support group for suicide attempt survivors. A founding member of this site, researcher Stephen O’Connor, helped us connect.
Suicide in the military and among veterans is a huge issue. A growing number of people who’ve survived attempts or suicidal thinking are talking about it openly, as this recent series in The Huffington Post shows so well.
As they do, they’re giving the public a vivid idea of what works _ and doesn’t _ in looking for help.
Before this week’s essay, here are a couple of good videos from young comedians who speak openly about their experience with suicidal thinking: