The One Story: HBCUs And The Gatekeeping Of Black Culture
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If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideations and need someone to talk to, please click here for support.

New details are providing a glimpse into the mindstate of Stephen “tWitch” Boss before he shockingly died by suicide earlier this week.

The man who rose to prominence as a DJ and dancer on the popular Ellen daytime talk show was found dead in a Los Angeles area motel from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Tuesday. Now, a suicide note the 40-year-old reportedly left behind offers hints of why he decided to take his own life, which appeared to be picture-perfect as shown on social media.

TMZ first reported on tWitch’s suicide note.

From TMZ:

Law enforcement sources tell us tWitch’s note, left at the scene of his suicide, was an ambiguous reference to his past challenges. It’s unclear exactly what he was referring to in the note.

We’re told investigators have determined tWitch took an Uber from his home to the motel less than a mile from his home Monday morning, and switched his phone to airplane mode so no one could reach or track him.

The precise reason or reasons why this occured remain unclear.

Actor Columbus Short, who starred in the movies Stomp The Yard and Homecoming alongside tWitch, offered his own apparently unsolicited conspiracy theory about tWitch’s suicide.

Short suggested without proof that tWitch died by suicide because he was experiencing money problems.

“People made investments, people do a lot of things — this is just a theory,” Short said in a video of himself speaking about tWitch’s death. “What if you invested something that took your whole life savings, possibly? … It gets rough.”

Short added: “You guys don’t know what people are going through … People are awful … tWitch was amazing, is amazing still — his legacy shall live on.”

tWitch’s death draws attention to a rising trend of Black people taking their own lives. While overall statistics point to Black people typically having among the lowest suicide rates, data from last year shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed those numbers for the worst.

Whether it’s due to mental illness, stress, feelings of hopelessness or any of the multiple other reasons why people commit suicide, it is something that affects folks from all walks of life. Keep reading to find a list of notable Black people who have died by suicide.

Data provided by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center shows that from 2010 to 2019 — the most recent years statistics were available for — Black people in the U.S. had a suicide rate of 7.4% per 100,000 people. That is compared to the overall rate of 13.2% per 100,000 people for everybody in the U.S.

When looking at the data according to age, Black people have the lowest suicide rates of all age groups, from childhood up through the mid-80s.

“Among Black populations, suicide rates peak during adolescence and young adulthood, then decline. This is a different pattern than is seen in the overall U.S. population, where suicide rates peak in midlife,” according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center data.

Black males have more than double the suicide rate of Black females, but each group’s rate is significantly lower than that of their white counterparts.

Overall, “the suicide death rate for men is more than four times the rate for women in Black populations” and the “suicide death rate for the overall U.S. population is approximately double that of Black populations for both males and females,” the Suicide Prevention Resource Center found.

When it comes to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, however, the rates for Black people are commensurately higher than the previous categories. In fact, “the percentage of past-year suicide attempts was higher in Black adult populations,” the Suicide Prevention Resource Center said.

NewsOne has compiled a list of suicide prevention resources.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideations and need someone to talk to, please click here for support.


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