We haven’t really talked about suicide that much here on Cypher Avenue, but we will share more personal experiences on depression in the future.

Suicidal thoughts are something that seems to pass the minds of a lot of black men in general, regardless of sexuality.

Just recently, I had a 35+ year old black heterosexual friend confess to me, “suicidal thoughts have haunted me since I was 18.”

Rapper/Actor Donald Glover’s revealing confessions on Instagram recently raised a lot of red flags to black male depression.

However it was the suicide of handsome young actor Lee Thompson Young that was the biggest reality check for many people. How could someone who seemingly had everything one could want in the world still be so depressed that it would lead them to committing suicide?

According to Kevin Caruso at the non-profit, untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide. Unfortunately, African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than whites. However, Caucasians are more than twice as likely to receive antidepressant prescription treatments as Blacks. Added to that, there is a societal shaming that comes with black men seeking therapy, so many avoid it at all costs.

Having said that, suicide is still a very rare thing in the black male community.

Lets look at some numbers. According to the 2010 census, there are roughly 42,000,000 Black or African Americans living in the country. That was Million. Now compare that number to the total Black American male suicides in 2009: 1,684. That’s not even filtering out the non-gay sexuality related suicides. That’s TOTAL.

So to say that black gay male suicide is epidemic is incorrect. According to the CDC, the suicide rate of African Americans is 60% lower than that of Caucasians.

But suicidal thoughts are still very damaging to a person’s psyche. While it may not lead to actual suicide attempts, mental distress or depression can influence men to make very unwise and detrimental decisions that can negatively affect the rest of their lives and others.

Rapper Kid Cudi recently appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show and confessed that he’s had suicidal thoughts for the past five years.

“There wasn’t a week or a day that didn’t go by where I was just like, ‘ya know, I wanna check out’…I know what that feels like…And I know it comes from loneliness…I know it comes from not having self worth. Not loving yourself.” Said Kid Cudi.

While I disagree with Kid Cudi’s assertion that Hip Hop music is the biggest contributing factor to youth depression, I’ll agree with him that our society’s emphasis on chiseled body images and expensive material possessions can lead to feelings of inadequacies and loneliness. 

Share your thoughts below.