S2S digs deeper into Fantasia’s suicide attempt to shed light on suicide and depression during National Suicide Prevention month.
While we’re so grateful Fantasia wasn’t successful in taking her own life, it made us think: What really gets someone to the point when they’ve had enough? In honor of National Suicide Prevention month (September), we chatted with Dr. Elisa English, a renowned clinician, about two issues that tends to be taboo in the Black community: depression and suicide.
According to her, 5 to 10 percent of African Americans have attempted suicide. What group is most likely to succeed? The answer might surprise you: elderly Black men.
“I think a lot of it has to do with alienation, isolation, ad in some cases men—especially Black men—historically have had to present themselves in a very strong way,” Dr. Elisa said “People holding in stress … Holding in conflict.” She added, ”They really lack somebody to talk to…they feel like [suicide is] the only way out.
With Fantasia in mind, you know we had to ask about the state of our Black women, especially those with some celebrity status. According to Dr. Elisa, Black women “don’t attempt at suicide as much as other ethnicities, but it has increased over these last couple of years.,” the latest numbers being between 2 and 7 percent.
Fantasia’s pill-popping added her to the growing list of celebrities (Ginuwine and Halle Berry, just to name two who have attempted suicide, so we questioned Dr. Elisa about the connection.
"Trying to hold on to an image, unable to meet the standards that people have set out for you,” Dr. Elisa said, listing the reasons why celebs might feel the pressure more than the average Jane or Joe. “Feeling like you have so many people depending on you or you’re being pulled in so many directions, both financially or emotionally. I think it affects them even greater than the average person. They have to deal with so many things pulling at them and oftentimes the response is ‘Maybe things would be better if I could just end this all right now.’”
As far as Fannie is concerned, “I don’t think she fully healed from all that,” Dr. Elisa said. “All the things that she mentioned [as triggers] are still a part of her life… She’s still emotionally torn about her decision to be with this gentleman. The family is still who they are … If that was straining her yesterday, it’s going to be straining her today.” She goes on to say, “I’m not sure whether she’s really been able to resolve all that…What has she done to cope with things?”
What does she suggest next for Fantasia? While Dr. Elisa doesn’t believe in suggesting plans of action to her clients, but she does have one two-letter word for Fannie: “No!” “Learning to say no, learning to set boundaries,” Dr. Elisa listed as ways to start the healing process. “The process is all her. It has to be a process that [she’s] willing to embrace.”
– Ariana Gordon