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Lets Talk About Suicide: Death Of Founder “For Brown Girls” and #DarkSkinRedLip Project

Karyn Washington

Karyn Washington inspired black women around the world to embrace the beauty of their blackness with the creation of her “For Brown Girls”(FBG) blog and the #DarkSkinRedLip Project. Her legacy is being remembered far too soon. Reports confirm that Karyn Wahington has passed away at the young age of 22 from an apparent suicide.

The Baltimore native and Morgan State University student was a visionary advocate for black women and girls. “I would like for ‘FBG’ to be a catalyst for change encouraging self-love and instilling pride in one’s skin complexion. The movement’s goal will be for new generations of darker skinned girls to not even have one thought of wishing to be lighter, to never doubt their beauty. My hope is for this “issue” to eventually be nonexistent but it does start with us. I’m also hoping I can do my part and make a change to where, darker skinned girls know they are beautiful no matter what anyone says, “ Karyn said in a 2012 interview with Madame Noire.

According to the CDC’s latest fact sheet on suicide, “The prevalence of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning, and suicide attempts is significantly higher among young adults aged 18-29 years than among adults aged ≥30 years.”

Although suicide is one of the few health risks Africans are not disproportionately in the lead, it does happen in our community. More importantly, it IS happening. We have to talk about it and prevent the loss of precious black lives.

Things You Can Do:

  • Help remove the stigma and myths that suicide contradicts gender and cultural expectations: Religious stigma of suicide as the “unforgivable sin”; African men are “hard” and do not take their own lives; African women are always strong and resilient and never crack under pressure
  • Remove stigma associated with seeking and receiving mental health treatment
  • Know that “tired” is a word black people often use to express hopelessness, depression
  • Recognize warning signs and help a friend or family member get professional help

Below are the signs:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Lets talk about mental health more. Conversations can help us manage the disease thereby preventing more deaths.

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