By: Krystle Crossman
In the last year or so racial tensions have been filling our news feeds. Discrimination seems to be rising to a boiling point. This is not only evident in the news, but in our school systems as well. Bullying and racial discrimination are running rampant and it is killing young black men at a quicker pace than ever before. Statistics released in 2010 showed that suicide was the third highest cause of death in black men aged 15-24. These young men are surrounded by racism and bullies. They become depressed. Because of the stigma of having a mental health issue they do not seek out treatment and feel that suicide is the only way out. Not only is this stigma creating a problem, but there is another issue that is just as much to blame…no one is doing anything about bullying in the schools.
Our schools are supposed to be a safe place that our children can go to for education. Unfortunately there are so many kids out there who are bullied so much that they fail out or drop out because they can’t concentrate on their work. Author Dr. Waldo E. Johnson Jr. states that young black men are constantly feeling like they are being threatened because of the racial tensions that are occurring at this point in time. Depression begins to sink in because they cannot do anything without feeling unsafe. Mental illness is a very dangerous thing to have when you are black.
Mental health treatments are often hard to come by in the black community for a number of reasons. Some people are too ashamed to go because of the stigma that is placed on them for having a mental health issue in the first place. Money is also a big factor when it comes to seeking help as many live in communities that do not offer free mental health counseling. Often times when the resources are there, people are not aware of where they can get help if they need it. All of these things combined make for a very hopeless situation for the person who is dealing with depression and can make everything seem too overwhelming.
When they are in the schools the teachers and faculty are there to teach and to monitor the students. More often than not however the staff is not doing enough to protect the students. Parents and students cry out for help because of bullying and yet nothing is done. Or some extremely minute is done which causes the bully to make life even worse for the student they are tormenting. This lack of action is making young black men feel like there is no one that they can turn to for help. Mental health help is certainly a big issue, but bullying can be stopped in the school first before the students are even getting to the point of wanting to take their own lives.