Sistas, Shame & Suicide: A Look into the Dark Lives of Black Women

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On September 15th at 7pm, Brandi Hawthorne was back at it yet again with another installment to her powerful #IAmMySister monthly tweet chats. In honor of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we explored the dark areas that few black women talk about in the open: depression, shame, humiliation, and sadly, suicide occurring amongst our strong, black women.

This month’s talk was hosted by @AliveToyia, founder of Alive On Purpose. Alive on Purpose is an awesome organization whose mission is to bring suicide prevention and purpose discovery to hurting souls through growth, wellness, and sustainability (their unique core values). I personally learned so much from her expertise and passion in topics concerning suicide, including triggers, signs and symptoms, and prevention techniques.

We first learned an interesting fact: black women are the least likely to commit suicide in comparison to men and women of other races. Although this fact would seem to negate the necessity for such an enlightening conversation, we tore the covers off of the superficial and dug deep below the bare facts. I discovered that often black women are the superheroes and burden-bearers for their families and friends. We may feel such an obligation to the ones who depend on us that letting go may parade like an act of selfishness in our physical or emotional absences.

This disturbing revelations leads to a more humbling truth than advocacy for self-harm: how many sisters are carrying extremely heavy emotional, physical, spiritual and mental burdens and looking for a way out but no one knows the weight they carry? What could we do as black women do to support each other in the hidden things?

We discussed so many things that shed light on a place where others would run away from the darkness. From suicide prevention, the presence and necessity of hope to self-reflection and community, we declared that the voice of shame shouldn’t be louder than the voices of love that reverberate throughout our lives.

Every life is precious. If you or someone you know has been considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you want support or just a woman to lend an ear, please reach out to us:




There are women who understand what you’re going through, who

want to listen to your story, who want to do something about the pain. It’s ok to ask for help, so you know you’re not alone 🙂

Regal Resources: (included this as a link in the third paragraph, wasn’t sure if it fit better as a Regal Resource. Your call!)

For a recap with tweets from the live chat, check out Brandi Hawthorne’s post on her blog, Woman, Live!: Recap of #IAmMySister Tweet Chat: Sistas, Shame & Suicide

Looking to get in on the #IAmMySister action? Check out the topic for October’s tweet chat here.

I Want to Know:

  1. Why do you think suicide is not often talked about amongst black women?

  2. What shameful things must women endure in order to be strong for the ones they love?

  3. How could you be there for a sister who is struggling with a particularly hard or hidden burden?

1 Comment

  1. Marie YoungMarie Youngon October 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I so support this issue. As a black woman I can so relate to these feelings. We as black women are STRONG and we can withstand a lot, BUT we are still human. We hurt just like any other race. People disregard our feelings because they know we’re strong, but sometimes we need others to lean on for emotional support and thats OK! Great post. #Sharing

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