Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Death of Yusuf Neville: Putting the Spotlight on Mental Health

Source: Instagram

Yusuf Neville. A young man laid to rest today. A name I did not know until I saw it all over social media a few days ago.

He had a dream job at a Fortune 500 company, was a  Hampton University grad, someone's fiancee, a son, and had touched the lives of many celebrities, friends and family. Terrence Jenkins, E! News host and Rocsi Diaz, Entertainment Tonight host, were among the numerous celebs tweeting about the tragic passing of Neville.

Even with all of the success, celebrity circles, and loved ones around him, Yusuf was suffering in a way that no one even knew. Last week, this young man took his own life by jumping off of a parking deck in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Just hours before taking his life, Yusuf tweeted this:

Suicide and mental health issues are taboo topics, especially in the African American community.  When we hear of yet another victim , we post a few lines of sympathy and then go back to our lives not realizing that there is a deeper issue at hand that is not getting better with time.

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions are no respecter of economic status, background or age.  It seems like every other week a celebrity has fallen victim to this epidemic. This has hit home for me too as I have seen people in my own circle lose the fight to chronic depression. I have also battled suicidal thoughts and depression in my own life. I have been through various events in my life that I allowed to take me to a place so dark I couldn't see up.  It is a daily battle but, through exercise, natural remedies, therapy, and developing my spiritual life I am in a much better place mentally.

How many more people will take their own lives before we as a society begin to take mental health issues seriously? 

Reach out to friends and family whenever possible, you never know how a kind gesture or a few words of encouragement could change someone's outlook on life.  If you are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, do not be embarrassed to seek help from a therapist, counselor, or minister, and let even one trusted individual in your life know what you're going through.

I know how it feels when  life is almost unbearable and it physically hurts to get up and deal with day-to-day issues but, know that things always get better.  Your life, complete with the trials and disappointments, has a purpose. This too shall pass....

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