See, Siwe's more than a number to add to statistics of the increasing rates of black teens losing their lives to suicide. All of those who have lost their lives are. But without sharing their stories, we bury them in the silence so many communities of color hold around the subject of mental health. Stigmas against seeking out mental health treatment or even admitting you're struggling only hurt us, and oftentimes, those who hurt the most are our most vulnerable, the youngest among us. And it's not just a certain type of dialogue that allows these stigmas to continue. It's also a lack of dialogue. That dangerously still silence.
So now, Siwe's story is not just words, but action. Ikpi's launched The Siwe Project, an organization that believes in the power of storytelling for individual healing, as well as community transformation. The project aims to help build "a world in which people of African descent can openly share their experiences with mental health challenges and feel supported in seeking treatment without shame." Visit the website for more details, and check out poet Bassey Ikpi in this touching video created for The Siwe Project.
And also? Tell your stories.