The following story may contain trigger words for some. Please read with discretion. If you or someone you know is suffering through a mental health episode, the 988 Lifeline is now active across the United States. This new, shorter phone number will make it easier for people to remember and access mental health crisis services. You can also dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) as well.
Even for the most physically fit of us, life can sometimes become so trying that it feels unbearable to carry on. Having suicidal thoughts is something that many Black Americans share at an alarming rate, and too many of us aren’t getting the message in time that it does in fact get better with help and guidance.
We were inspired by how important that message is thanks to a recent moment of revelation by Los Angeles Clippers guard John Wall, who opened up candidly about how the last few years of his life brought him to the point of contemplating suicide.
Thankfully, support from his teammates and immediate family enabled him to address those feelings openly as a way of getting help for himself in addition to encouraging others who might be in his situation.
“Darkest place I’ve ever been in,” Wall said during a garden dedication at the Salvation Army of Wake County a few weeks back (seen above) in tribute to his late mom, Frances Pulley. He continued by adding, “At one point in time, I thought about committing suicide. I mean, just tearing my Achilles, my mom being sick, my mom passing, my grandma passed a year later, all this in the midst of COVID and at the same time, me going to chemotherapy, me sitting by my mom taking her last breaths wearing the same clothes for three days straight laying on the couch beside her.”
Speaking on his situation in particular, Wall added, “We’re all going through times, nobody’s got it easy, but I don’t think a lot of people could get through what I went through.” He went on to reiterate the importance of support being a key factor in overcoming such a dark burden, further stating, “To get back on top where I want to be and seeing the fans still want me to play, having the support from my hometown, this important period means a lot. I went to find a therapist. A lot of people think, ‘I don’t need help, I can get through it at anytime,’ but you’ve got to be true to yourself and find out what’s best for you.”
We thank John Wall for his strength and honesty in sharing such a dark period of his life with the world. Stories like his, along with other celebrities who’ve overcome suicidal thoughts, could do a lot in helping reverse an alarming rate of deaths by suicide amongst Black Americans currently affecting our community.
Read on for a look at 8 famous Black people that found a way to push through and get help with suicidal thoughts:
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There Is Hope: 8 Black Public Figures That Overcame Suicidal Thoughts was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ JohnsonSource:Getty
One of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors and a pillar of physical perfection today, The Rock once revealed that at 15 he almost witnessed his own mom commit suicide. That was on top of dealing with his own depression after early pro football dreams came to an abrupt end. As you can see, he never gave up and became a shining example of the life that can await you on the other side of darkness.
2. Taraji P. HensonSource:Getty
The global pandemic had major effects on all of us individually, and for some like Taraji it even led them to feeling like life is worthless. The celebrated actress relied on advice from her best friend to help shake the mental funk, and it’s an easy step that only takes one call to someone you know that cares.
3. Jada Pinkett SmithSource:Getty
Smith revealed on her hit Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk that she experienced suicidal thoughts during two times in her life, and on both occasions it was due to regressed rage. It was identifying the problem first, then going on a journey to heal herself, that ultimately freed Jada from the hold depression had on her.
4. Kid CudiSource:Getty
Cudi has discussed his bouts with depression and suicidal thoughts very openly over the years, and we even honored him during Black History Month as a pioneering mental health advocate. He’s a hero for those who struggle on-and-off with curing their depression in pursuit of equilibrium, making them feel comfortable in knowing the journey isn’t a lonely one.
5. Michelle Williams of Destiny’s ChildSource:Getty
A 2018 trip to a mental health facility began the healing process for this DC3 member to rid herself of being, in her words, “too comfortable with the thoughts of suicide.” After silently struggling for over a decade with the group’s 2006 disbandment amongst other things, Michelle got help and eventually penned a book about overcoming her struggles.
6. Mary J. BligeSource:Getty
The Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul has always kept it real, especially in the lyrics of her hit music, about past struggles with alcohol abuse that drove her into serious depression. It was fan support during those early years that Mary credits to helping make the decision to live on and inspire those in similar circumstances with her God-given gift.
7. Wayne BradySource:Getty
Someone as funny as Wayne Brady can surprisingly be struggling with depression silently. It took a nervous breakdown on his 42nd birthday to get him on a path of healing that he continues even at his current age of 50.
8. Erica Campbell of Mary MarySource:Getty
We hear her inspire thousands on a daily basis with her radio show, Get Up! Mornings With Erica Campbell, in addition to singing as one half of the iconic gospel duo Mary Mary. However, many who saw the 2018 docu-series, We’re The Campbells, are aware of the singer’s suicidal thoughts at the age of 12. Through prayer, which she practices religiously to this day, she was able to focus her young mind on the light towards a better future.