Researchers don’t know exactly why suicide rates among Black children are rising, but many point to the changing political climate, the rise of social media, and a lack of action by schools to address the impact of bullying.
Phillip Spruill, an 11-year-old boy, recently committed suicide after intense bullying in school over his weight.
Nigel Shelby, who was 15, also committed suicide after being relentlessly bullied because he was gay.
McKenzie Adams, who was only NINE years old, also recently committed suicide because of bullying.
In all of these recent cases, the child’s parents reached out to their school about the bullying, but nothing substantial was done.
Anti-fat, anti-gay, and anti-Black attitudes are common in our society, and children learn these attitudes from their parents and from the media - and then target their classmates for bullying.
The result? Our children are dying. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide.”
But in our community, talking about mental health is still taboo. Our children need to know that it’s OK to ask for help and to talk about their feelings.
Take the time to talk to your children about both bullying and mental health, and make sure your kids’ school has a strong anti-bullying policy. These steps could save a life.