Hanif Hour 18: An artist and principal’s plea for us to see beyond the statistics that bleed off the page…

“I stopped thinking about extreme grief as the sole vehicle for great art when the grief started to take people with it.” – Hanif Abdurraqib

This week an artist, and last week a principal, brought to my attention startling statistics concerning the suicide rates in America.

First this is Mens Health Week and 75 percent of men loose their lives to suicide. If this was not shocking enough the statistics go on to shed light that in 2019 the suicide rate was 1.5 times higher for Veterans than for non-vets over the age of 18 according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study.

Equally alarming suicide rates have doubled among black men since the 1980s as reported by (CDC) and is currently the third leading cause of death for African-American males between the ages of 15-24 in the 2019 study.

The New York Times did a follow up during in 2020 looking at how the Pandemic may have contributed to this already tragic topic.

Suicide is still  the 10th leading cause of death in the USA.

South Korea, Hungary, and Japan are now on the rise with world suicide rates.

The World Health Organization states that we loose over 700,000 people to suicide worldwide each year.


Based on this I created a poem to shed awareness on this topic.


Every one needs to feel productive.

Some like to be alone in the comfort of home.

Others flourish in the company of others.

What ever your choice, please know that you are loved more than you know.

Each one of us is experiencing something that we keep inside.

Yes, you may be afraid to reach out in the middle of the night.

We do not want to loose you. Your presence means more than you know.

Someone is experiencing the hurt you feel and we are here if you need to share.

We need you, to tell the tale of how you survived this almost insurmountable burden.

Please know that you count and you always have.

*I lost a friend in high school and every time I hear of someone who has died I wish I could have been his listening ear.  Some of us did not even know. Don’t be too shy to ask for help in the way you feel most comfortable.

The world needs you more than you know.

Someone is counting on you and you don’t even know their name.

Countless people care for you, so please don’t go.

We will be there to see you through it all until you can do it on your own.

If you need us please let us know.

Let’s stop suicide in its track and give the youth and the elderly and everyone of every creed and nation in between the tools to see that all life is sacred, especially theirs.


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