As September comes to a close I wanted to have one final post for Suicide Prevention Month. I am really happy and appreciative of the feedback I have received either in person, in the comments or the DM’s on the Instagram page for this month. Mental health is such an important topic and I’m so thankful to have a platform where we can discuss freely and have no judgement. We all have our own personal demons that we battle and so often due to shame and not wanting our business to get out there, we hold in what’s going on in our hearts and in our minds.
Society would lead us to believe that EVERYONE knows about and seeks help to deal with their mental health issues; however being in the black community we know for a fact that this is not true. Realistically, black women are more apt to find help for what they are dealing with mentally but for our Kings this is different. Men of color are expected to live by a different set of rules as if they aren’t spirits having this human experience the rest of us are living. Our mothers, grandmothers, aunties and various other women in their lives don’t often allow their men to have feelings and express them. Not to mention, because the men in their lives weren’t allowed to be feeling, they reject this behavior as well. So, we have to ask ourselves where is the safe place? Where can our men go and whom are they able to talk to in order to ensure they are able to release the negativity they are feeling? The easy answer is a spiritual leader or a trusted family member. Have you ever tried to tell someone that you are having suicidal thoughts or are hearing voices? If not, whatever face you just made or whatever you just thought is generally the response that is feared. If it sounds “crazy” or “off” to you, imagine how it sounds to the person experiencing it.
There has been an influx in suicides in men of color and we have to stop this number from rising even higher. We have to give our Kings a safe haven where they can express themselves and know that they are still loved and valued. We must stop the pressure we often place upon them to just deal with the same stresses women of color feel. We need to encourage our Kings to develop and participate in groups where they get together to discuss what is happening in their lives. I understand that women need to have their girl time retreats, but our Kings NEED them too! Positive, healthy friendships have to be established and encouraged. We must STOP getting jealous and angry when our Kings want to have retreats with their friends. Your controlling behavior is quite possibly a contributing factor to the negative feelings your King is experiencing. If the friends are positive and have something going on for themselves then we need to stop finding fault for our own selfish reasons. Insecurity is a spirit that has to be quashed if you want your relationship to not only last, but be healthy. We have to understand that our Kings need to decompress. Because they may not feel comfortable talking with a therapist or even family due to fears of judgement, we cannot discourage participation in retreats that offer help.
Suffering in silence has become a killer to our Kings and it’s time we do something about it. We have to hold ourselves accountable and accept responsibility for the role we play in them not feeling comfortable with healthy expression regarding their mental health. I implore women of color to change how our Kings are raised and how we receive their expressions of self in our relationships. Allow them the freedom to live in their truth and come to you and the other women in your family free of judgement and ridicule when they have a need to get something off their chest. Give our Kings the assurance that we all have days we aren’t happy and that it’s okay to not be okay. Define healthy love for them with acceptance and show them that they can trust you with their heart and mind. Black/brown LOVE needs to be redefined and what better time to start than TODAY!
If you need help to cope or are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 available 24 hours a day