The T.J. Press
Influencing healing via information & the written word.
A 17 year old Black girl stood in front of a train on Monday (Feb. 24th).
In late December of last year, myself and colleagues from SW Social Support, LLC provided supportive services for a family who had just lost a son to suicide. He too, left us by stepping in front of a train. In between these two tragedies, another member of this student body was fatally shot in the neck, attending a family funeral. In a matter of less than 3 months, here in South Florida, there have been 2 completed suicides, multiple attempts, and multiple sudden deaths of Black youth. All of these are from the same school; all were athletes and exemplary students — so why isn't there more of an outcry for support?
Deerfield Beach High School was the home school for these young people who've since transitioned. The tragic losses of life have been answered by (in my opinion) sparse media coverage and little to no publicly known efforts to address this like other tragedies in our South Florida schools have received (see Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting response, here). In addition to these deaths not taking place in more affluent parts of town, these students are members of a school whose population is overwhelmingly Black and Brown. It makes me wonder why there hasn't been greater effort on the part of the collective school board, the high school administration, and local organizations that exist to combat and prevent issues like these? Where is the coordinated and rapid response for our children?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death. In the United States, approximately 47,000 lives were claimed by suicide alone. In people between the ages of 10 and 34, suicide skyrockets to being the 2nd leading cause of death — that's right below all unintentional injuries. Per the Suicide Prevention and Resource Center, while suicidal thoughts and plans have decreased across high school-aged youth as a whole, suicide attempts by Black high school students have increased by as much as 73% between 1991 and 2017. This trend seems to be continuing as we move forward, suggesting that while something might be changing and/or working — it isn't for Black children.
Some questions I have are, what is it that isn't now and hasn't been working... and why haven't institutions and organizations spoken up and out about these alarming statistics? Furthermore, what can we do to save the lives of our children? One thing's for sure, knowing what to look for isn't a bad place to start...
Some signs and symptoms that someone might be contemplating suicide are below:
If no other place, let's start here. Looking... with open eyes and open hearts. Let's start paying closer, better, full attention to the little things — because all too often, they become the biggest.
In Peace & Power,
Stay tuned for articles, etc. on things relevant to Black folks, Men, Mental Health, Self-expression, & Wellness. I can't wait to share more with y'all. Until then...
about Adejare A. McMillan:
Likes: grapefruit, salted oceanic air, Irish whiskey, and poems about love. Dislikes: closed-mindedness, heavy metal music, and unkind people. Impartial to: sleeping alone, cooking vs eating out, surprises, and most electoral politics.