Ask A Black Girl: Why are Black women’s suicide rates so low?

Suicide
The stories they could tell.

WHY ARE BLACK WOMEN’S

SUICIDE RATES SO LOW?

Yes, this is a real question I found in an online discussion.

I swear, it’s like people want us to die or they are curious as to why we want to or must go on in a world that hates us.

But, why ask why we want to live? Shouldn’t we all want to live?

Speaking from my own experience as a depressed Black woman suffering from PTSD, suicide has never crossed my mind. It’s not an option. I have to live. I’m a single mother of one daughter and I am my mothers caregiver. I can’t die.

Now that doesn’t mean I don’t think about death, as in my mortality, especially since I am taking care of my mother, but taking my life though I do hate the life I live, is not an option.

I couldn’t do that to my mother and daughter.

I also have dreams left despite it all. So, I have shit to do before I leave here.

And, quite frankly, I don’t want to enter the other side because I took my own life.

I wanna see how this shit turns out.

I plan to die old, with grand kids, and with my life in a better state than it is now. I have something to prove to myself.

Having said that, a recent study has revealed that Black women disproportionately suffer from PTSD which in turn means that our depression rates are also very high.

So, perhaps the real question should be:

How do Black women survive?

Read: The Most Disrespected Person in America Is Still the Black Woman

I also think that being a part of a culture that believes suicide is a sin combined with what newworldafro says below pretty much sums up why suicide rates are so low for Black women.

According to Zora Neale Hurston, Black women are the “mules of the earth”, meaning they have thick skin; considering all the BS they had to go through for 500 years and they pass that persistence on to their daughters.”

Black women, What do YOU think?

Why aren’t we killing ourselves more?


Ask A Black Girl gives Black women the opportunity to candidly answer the controversial, common, and crude questions we are asked most often.

 

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4 thoughts on “Ask A Black Girl: Why are Black women’s suicide rates so low?

  1. I’ve only experienced, what I considered depression, once in my life. It only lasted a month or two and it was circumstantial. Suicide never entered my mind. I knew why I was depressed, and I knew when I removed myself from the situation, I’d be better again. I remember breaking down in my general practitioner’s office, as I shared what I was going through. He asked if I needed medication to get through it. I said, “No. In a couple of weeks it’ll all be over.” A couple weeks later, the issues had resolved and I moved on with my life.

    With that in mind, I may not be the best person to answer.

    I think there are a few reasons.

    1) I grew up in a strong Christian family. My family is from the deep south. Suicide just isn’t an option. I don’t even think people talk about suicide. I would say it’s a foreign concept even. It’s like going to a friend and saying, “Hey… I found you can take trips to the moon for like $50.” And your friend saying, “Really? How do you do that?” It’s just something that’s never been considered an option. “Oh really? People do that? You can kill yourself? Are you sure it wasn’t an accident?”

    2) We’re fighters. Despite how awful life can be, I think we’re raised in a culture where we believe we have to fight back. Suicide is, again, foreign. You can’t fight back when you’re dead. It reminds me of before I married my husband (a white man). I went to my mother and mentioned how different he was from me. I said, “I feel like I’m struggling to climb out of this pit. Every thing is a fight to the surface. Yet he seems compliant with where he is… he just goes with the flow.” I don’t think it’s in our nature to just give up. Even in slavery, our ancestors worked until the work killed them or their masters did. Our ancestors overcame and survived inhumane treatment. Life today is almost a walk in the park. How can we give up when we’ve come so far?

    3) We realize that life is a trial. I always feel like there’s something better for me, and I’m always reaching to achieve it. It doesn’t matter if I reach a goal, there’s always another goal on the horizon. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with simply being. Life is about striving and the hope that comes through working toward something better.

    4) We are role models for the future. My mother, her mother, her mother’s mother… they all suffered and survived. They each passed down a legacy. I’m a role model to my girls. I think to myself, if something happened to my husband, my kids and I would be okay. However, I worry. I can’t imagine my kids growing up without me… having no mother. I worry about my husband trying to raise our son alone. I feel irreplaceable.

    When I think of the fourth reason, I wonder if that’s it. I think a lot of depressed people who contemplate suicide might think they don’t matter. They might think the world is a better place without them, especially if they think all they bring is misery.

    I don’t think the world is better off without me. I think it’ll be worse, especially for my family. It’s like the woman you quoted who has a mother and children she has to be there for. People depend on the Black Woman. Even in times of slavery, the Black Woman was the heart of everything. She was the woman who even raised the master’s children.

    I think history set us up as irreplaceable, even if we’re or are abused. We have value. You don’t kill something that’s so precious, even if that something is yourself.

  2. I think you nailed it – we are the mules. We typically are the responsible ones left standing when those around us are sick, in need, or have abdicated carrying their share of the load. Good question though – one I never would have thought to ask or examine.

Tell me how you feel!