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Are Black Men Suffering in Silence?

(ThyBlackMan.com) A childhood friend called me upset and very concerned last week, a friend of her 13 year old son made plans to kill himself as a New Year’s resolution. On last Saturday my cousin and I spoke on a childhood friend of hers who had just committed suicide at 29 years of age. Of course the black community has faced suicide with celebrities but these days it seems to be getting closer to home which leaves me asking: Are black men suffering in silence?

The culture within our society requires that men be rigid, unemotional, distant, strong and sexually promiscuous. We live in a society where even mothers have bought into this unbalanced presentation of masculinity. I’ve experienced mothers neglecting to comfort their young sons who had fallen off of a bike or hurt themselves while playing because the son is expected to be a “big boy“.

We tell our sons not to cry, many of us even go as far as calling little boys our “little man“. We as mothers teach our sons that they shouldn’t express their emotions. I recall one of my favorite UFC fighters posting that on his son’s 4th birthday they made a pact that he would only cry if he’s near death and that they would no longer kiss one another. Why? Because he’s 4 now! It’s time for him to learn to be a man.

Children grow up people! Many of us are sharing a bed with those same little boys who were cut off from expressing themselves emotionally. Many of our relationship are failing because we’re in a relationship with a partner who is battling depression and because we, as mothers, are unable to nurture our sons fully, we lack the skills to assist our men in coping with the many hardships that revolve around manhood.

I am one who truly believes that depression leads to violence. In my humble opinion depression is the reason black on black crime is so prevalent in our community. From unemployment, incarceration, relationship drama, issues in fatherhood, mental illness, suicidal thoughts and emotional imbalance, its obvious our men are dealing with a variety of issues that our “man up” antics will never understand or solve.

Signs of Depression:

  • Sexual Dysfunction – Very few men will speak openly on this topic and I’ve crossed paths with men who would allow you to accuse them of cheating rather than saying they’re going through some difficulties that are affecting their sexual performance.
  • Substance Abuse – Many of us self-medicate. Over-the-counter drugs have given us much more power than we’re prepared to hold. Same goes for our need to go out and have a drink after a bad or long day. At times we use substances to numb our pain and often this leads us down a path to addiction.
  • Anger – Depression can cause rage. When we feel we have no power over factors affecting us in our lives, we at times start to use our power over those that love us. This also bleeds out into the community as well causing many to be on edge and prepared to respond with violence when someone bumps into them or says something they deem disrespectful.
  • Lack of Focus – Constantly replaying your sorrows, mistakes, shortcomings, etc. leaves little room for us to direct positive energy into projects that can propel us forward. Worrying makes temporary problems stick around later because it robs us of our joy.
Be sure to check out the full conversation covering this topic at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/175TheFIX. And if someone you know someone who is battling depression or suicide, seek immediate assistance. You can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Staff Writer; Dina Tuff

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