This week, October 1st through October 7th, is Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during this week provides a dedicated time for mental health allies and advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice.
This year during MTV’s Video Music Awards, rapper Logic released the video for his new song titled 1-800-273-8255. The song brought up the topic of suicidal ideation: the feeling of not wanting to live and feelings of hopelessness. The video portrays a black high school student struggling to cope with his father’s reaction to his sexuality and the loneliness of abruptly losing a safe haven. Watch the video here.
“I feel like I’m outta my mind
It feels like my life ain’t mine
Who can relate?
I don’t wanna be alive
I don’t wanna be alive
I just wanna die today”
This video reminds us of three shocking suicide statistics.
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among people age 10-24. (https://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/toolstemplates/entertainmented/tips/SuicideYouth.html)
- Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth. (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/pdfs/ss6509.pdf)
- Although black suicide rates are lower than overall U.S. rates, suicide affects youth at a much higher rate than adults. Black Americans die by suicide a full decade younger than White Americans (average age 32 vs 44) (https://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/toolstemplates/entertainmented/tips/SuicideYouth.html)
Notably, as the video shifts from despair to inspiration, so do the lyrics of the song. While life remains difficult for the boy, he finds a reason to live and to keep trying.
“Pain don’t hurt the same, I know
The lane I travel feels alone
But I’m moving ’til my legs give out
And I see my tears melt in the snow
But I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry anymore
I wanna feel alive
I don’t wanna die anymore”
Logic’s song aids suicide prevention by educating the public about suicide ideation as well as titling the song after the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Calls have surged since the song’s release.
The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)’s work commits to wellness, recovery, and resilience in the mental health field. Our program Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach the public about how to help a young person who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.
ODE’s African American Community Initiative (AACI) is also dedicated to building a community driven support system for reducing mental health disparities and the stigma of mental health for the African American community.
For more information on how to get a Youth Mental Health First Aid training, contact Natalie Andrade at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 372- 8548.
For more information about how to get involved with AACI visit here.
Visit ODE’s website to learn more about our other efforts to prevent suicide.