Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). The objective for this day of awareness is to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. The need to mask deep-rooted pain by adapting facades to cope with everyday life, social stigma, suffering from another mental or emotional illness and taboo factor in the lives of those afflicted with suicide. They may opt out of seeking help and stuff their emotions internally which usually fares worse for the person.
Depression and other mental illnesses that are not kept in check can lead to suicidal thoughts and in turn, attempting to or committing suicide, as annotated on WebMD.
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Another important aspect of mental health is the challenge of being able to receive assistance even if one is willing. The lack of adequate mental health facilities, distrust for medical providers, mental health providers not being properly educated or versed in treating the African-American community, and the disproportionate amount of Blacks that are under-insured or not insured at all are also contributing factors as to why many in the black community don’t reach out for help.
Then there is the Superman/Superwoman syndrome. We as black men and women must always put on a face of bravery amidst painful and challenging times. After all, we’ve survived rape, incest, slavery, abuse, poverty, neglect, workplace discrimination, disenfranchisement and the list goes on and on. So we should be able to handle anything that comes our way right?
Well, yes we can and more than likely do. Nevertheless, we need to develop a knowledge of how our actions affect us and those around us, how important our emotions are and when they can be deterrents to our overall growth, how imperative it is to heal from emotional baggage and we all have it. The degree to which how we’ve been pained or hurt does not matter in the end because all pain is valid. True story.
Another notion to contemplate. Though one may meditate, pray and fast it does not mean that said person can’t be afflicted with suicidal thoughts, mental, or emotional ailments. And you shouldn’t be shamed into feeling any less worthy because you’re doing all you can to feel better and you’re still struggling.
There are many that we may perceive as “having it all” and yet, they too have suffered from mental illness. Yet they speak about it in hopes of helping others traverse through their ordeals and come out on top.
The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that “although anyone can develop a mental health problem, African Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental health conditions due to unmet needs and other barriers.”
According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Issues such as discrimination, past trauma – often passed from generation to generation unless nipped in the bud, poverty, violence and the pressures of being sole providers – can exacerbate depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Still not convinced that mental health is a healthy commodity to add to your life? Here is why you should.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions,” according to psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer.
As an article on Psychologist Today puts it, “It is not always the best workers who receive raises and promotions but the workers with the best social and political skills.” The flip side is, it can also be why some are able to manipulate, cheat and lie their way through things and seemingly never get penalized.
Whether you comprehend it or agree with or not, EQ is crucial to success and your emotional well-being.
So what can you do to get on track?
Firstly, you have an extensive emotional vocabulary. You know how to accurately describe how you feel. You use specific words to express how you feel, according to INC.
You’re curious about people and their emotions. You want to get to know people and why they exhibit the emotions they do. You care about people and their well-being.
You embrace change. Yes, you still have your reservations about having to adapt to something unique, however, you keep it pushing and see the positives of the situation, as described by Time Magazine.
You work on controlling your thoughts. You have negative and positive thoughts just like everyone else, you just don’t let the less-serving ones rent a room in your head.
The list is not all-inclusive, just a precursor of some things to ponder about.
All in all, EQ is not about being a soundboard for everyone and their problems. It is more so about recognizing the unsaid, empathizing with yourself and others and realizing that everyone has a reason to feel the way they do and that is just fine.
It also makes days like World Suicide Prevention Day essential, whether you’ve been directly affected by suicide or not.