HBCU Writers's Project
For Immediate Release
September 30, 2009
Contact Information

Charlena Owens
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

(BPRW) The Dark Side of Suicide

(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) –– Once classified as “a white thing,” suicide is statistically becoming “our thing” too. On average, one African American dies by suicide every 4.5 hours. According to the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), approximately 1,669 males committed suicide in 2006. 

Suicide is considered a mental illness and it does not discriminate. The hip hop community lost Def Jam’s Executive Vice President Shakir Stewart to suicide in November 2008. Stewart was responsible for signing top rap artists such as Rick Ross and Young Jeezy. A native of south Florida, 19-year-old Abraham Briggs committed suicide on his webcam after overdosing on pills. Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, hanged himself after being taunted at school. This mental illness is taking innocent lives and many of them are black males. There’s not a specific “type” of victim to the dark side of suicide. 

“In addition to dealing with the physical, mental and emotional issues typically experienced during adolescence, African American males are confronted with very unique social and environmental stressors,” said Dr. Claire Xanthos to The Health Examiner. 

Awareness, action and education are factors that can inhibit mental illness. If you know someone that might be in a crisis situation, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This 24-hour hotline is free and confidential, or you can visit them online at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org (NSPL).