Prioritizing Mental Health In The Era of Trump

I am one of those people who attempted to (and probably failed at) ignoring the presidential race for much of 2016. The prospect of potentially having to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was grief inducing enough but to watch the campaign antics in real-time felt like a malignant form of self-harm.

However, now that Trump is the president-elect (a phrase I struggle with even typing at this moment), I – like many others – am forced to reckon with the realities before me. I have seen many people posting memes about drinking to cope with the election results or joking about starting nonprescription drugs to distract them from what is surely to come. And, while I – like so many others – have considered self-medicating as a way to cope, I am convinced that we must also be frank in this moment about the very real anxiety and fear this new political development brings on in an effort to move our collective grief toward collective action and healing.

U.S. Suicide Rates Are On The Rise Across the Board

A report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has found that, between 1999 and 2014, suicide rates for pretty much every demographic in the United States have been on the rise, with black men being the exception. The study looked at statistics for deaths considered to be suicides for people from the ages of 10 to 74, according to CNN.

Overall, suicide rates in the U.S. are their highest in 30 years. 

Los Angeles Family Questions Woman’s Reported Suicide in Jail

Wakiesha Wilson was in LAPD custody when she was found dead in her jail cell. According to the LAPD, the 36-year-old hanged herself and was found on the morning of Sunday, March 27th. While Wilson suffered from bipolar disorder, her family disputes that she wouldn’t have taken her own life.

“I don’t believe that, my daughter would not kill herself. It’s not like this is the first time she’s been incarcerated. No, she had too much to live for,” said Wilson’s mother, Lisa Hines, according to ABC.

Facebook Adds Suicide Prevention App

facebook

Last week, Facebook announced the addition of a suicide prevention feature. As of today, roughly half of all Facebook users have access to the app. All users will have access in the coming months.

Suicide accounts for over 40,000 deaths annually. Amongst young people aged 10-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death. Black teens have an increased risk for suicide. Overall, 4% of black teens will attempt suicide by age 17. The number is slightly higher for black girls at 7%.

As social media becomes more integrated into daily life, efforts to help those struggling with mental health may prove to be helpful.

Photo: Facebook