Mental Illness – not in My house

Mental Illness – not in My house

- in Mental Health Care

Mental Illness – not in My house

Mental illness is a taboo subject in the black community and it’s time to bring the suicide epidemic conversation to the forefront.  Black people need to stop brushing off mental illness as “white people problem.” The third leading cause of death in the black community is suicide among individuals who are between the age of 15 and 24 years old. Black males being the most affected.  Black people living with mental illness, suffer alone unnecessarily for the fear of being ridiculed and shamed by family members, coworkers, and friends.  Now that’s messed up, and unfortunate because according to a 2010 study conducted by the Suicide Prevention Resource CenterConnectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions” goes a long way in helping people deal with mental illness.

Individuals dealing with mental illness are at great risk to commit suicide when they are under allot of stress due to work or school. When they are going through a bad breakup or divorce. If they are having family troubles at home, and if they are being discriminated against in society.  Basically, any situation that makes a person, who is suffering from mental illness, nervous, uncomfortable, or uneasy can be that last straw to push them over the edge. Unfortunately, in the past 10 days, we have witnessed 2 separate tragic events involving, Cedric Anderson and Steve Stephens that serves as clear examples of the worst case scenario when mental illness is left untreated.  We have to be more mindful to listen to our loved ones and recognize and respond to their cries for help.

  • Cedric Anderson(53) entered San Bernardino elementary school and shot and killed his estranged wife Karen Smith(53), an 8-year-old boy caught in the crossfire was also killed. Cedric reloaded and shot himself and died on the scene.
  • Steve Stephens (37), was a fugitive on the run for killing 74-year-old, Robert Godwin and posting it on his Facebook page. He claims to have killed 12 other people. He killed himself in his car moments before police could apprehend him.

mental illness

Since this article is about bringing awareness to mental illness and the suicide epidemic in the black community… I wanted to bring in an authoritative word from a professional for more credibility.  I reached out to Tiffany S Porter to make an official statement.

Tiffany S. Porter, a native of New York received a B.S in legal studies from Sage College. Presently she’s enrolled at The College of Saint Rose clinical mental health master’s program. Professionally she works as a recreation therapist assistant at the Center for Disabilities. The academic clinical training allowed the completion of her practicum, currently interning at Project Equality. Treating families, couples, and individuals affected by domestic violence and mental illness. During an educational conference, Tiffany presented the importance of self-care. Succeeding graduation, she aspires to own her own counseling agency, become an author, and acquire an additional art therapy license.

Mental Illness – Statement on Suicide Epidemic

By Tiffany S Porter

mental illness

The African American community is clothed in pride and crowned with resilience. As a cultural group, African Americans have endured a historical cruelty and pushed forward with grace. These attributes are inherited from our elders and passed on through our legacy. Although these positive attributes are to be celebrated, to continue to build strength within the community we must look at the symptoms of oppression that threaten our legacy. Without doing so our crown we so dearly hold, may regretfully slip through our hands.

One of those symptoms that can breed more when unattended to is suicidal ideations. Suicidal ideations are the thought patterns that lead to suicide or multitude of clinical mental disorders inclusive of depression and anxiety. Suicides are the third leading cause of death of African Americans between the ages of 15-24 years old. Without safeguarding our youth, our progress may rewind. They are the driving force to carry the accomplishments of our community. It is a valid fear that the village may be failing them. Are we truly protecting the mental wellness of the African American Community against microaggressions? A lingering question, the community should reflect on. As elaborated by Hollingsworth,

(2017) The African American community faces a multitude racial microaggression dimensions throughout their lifetime. The effects can be detrimental to their mental wellness. These dimensions include Invisibility of feeling devalued and ignored, Criminality, threats to their safety, Stereotypes of being low achieving and incompetent, Sexualization that lead to being over sexualized, feelings of being viewed as an immigrant and not a born citizen of America and environmental invalidations of being surrounded by negative images (Hollingsworth, 2017).

Racial microaggressions are the catalyst of internal aggression, clouding the confidence needed to survive in an oppressive environment. These impacts must be recognized. Like a jewel that needs to be shined, in order to gleam in the sun. Suicides are increasing, among the youth and African Americans among the LGBTQ community. There are times African Americans may need to reclaim their crown and begin to crown each other. It starts with an uncomfortable conversation that can lead to solutions.


Staff Writer: David P Fenelus
Guess Contributor: Tiffany S Porter
Feature Image was taken from Steve Stephens Facebook page

List of references

Karen Smith: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Steve Stephens Dead: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Suggested readings

Perspectives in Caribbean Psychology 1st Edition

African Americans and Depression: Signs, Awareness, Treatments, and Interventions

The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives Kindle Edition

Seek Help if you need it

If you are dealing with mental health issues or know someone who needs help, send an email to and I will direct you to professionals who can help you.


mental illness

David P Fenelus is presently studying Social Media and Digital Marketing, at Herzing College, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  He is the web publisher of His interests are digital marketing; traditional marketing; content marketing; black history; reading; social issues; NBA basketball; NFL Football; and fantasy sports. You can follow him on Twitter @davidfenelus For information on how to achieve maximum user experience at click the following link,

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