A.J. Brown, John Wall, and Black suicidal thoughts.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Mental health is critical for all human beings. There are several ways to maintain quality mental health that are different in effectiveness based on one’s circumstance. There challenges to mental health daily for all human beings as we face life and societal challenges that can weigh heavily depending on the magnitude of the challenge. One of the more interesting developments of the past decade has been more open discussions about mental health struggles and even some notable personalities such as professional athletes have detailed their mental health struggles publicly.

For some people, mental health struggles can lead to suicidal thoughts and this is becoming even more prevalent for Black people. Although many professional athletes in the NBA and NFL can seemingly have “it all”, in terms of fame, fortune, and being in peak physical condition, there are times when Black male athletes from the NBA, NFL, or other sports leagues open up publicly about suicidal thoughts.

Last year, former Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown revealed that he considered suicide back in 2020. On an Instagram video, Brown said, “I’m kind of nervous, even to be saying this, but a year ago from today, I thought about taking my own life. I had no more hope for better days and everything was just going wrong for me. The reason why I’m sharing this message today to you is that I’m still here. I’m still going. I’m still smiling, and I’ve got a lot of things to be grateful for.” He also added, “I just want to encourage everyone to protect your mental. Talk to someone. Get things off your chest. Do things that make you happy. It’s so important. I didn’t think depression was real until it happened to me. But now I know it’s really real.” At the time, Brown had earned around $3 million in career earnings through his first two NFL seasons while also earning a Pro Bowl berth after his second season. He was a 24-year old Black man with early career accolades as well as million-dollar career earnings yet he faced the similar mental struggles many people faced before and during the pandemic.

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Los Angeles Clippers guard John Wall is a five-time NBA All-Star who has earned an astounding $232 million in career earnings in the NBA. Wall has been a former High School All-American, former University of Kentucky freshman phenom, and was the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He has worked his way into a lot of acclaim for his basketball abilities but he has faced a number of challenges off the court in recent years that led him to consider ending his life.

Due to facing serious injuries in his career, the death of his mother from breast cancer and other family members dying, John Wall was in a difficult place as he discussed openly at a North Carolina Salvation Army. “Darkest place I’ve ever been in,” Wall said. “At one point in time, I thought about committing suicide. I mean, just tearing my Achilles, my mom being sick, my mom passing, my grandma passed a year later, all this in the midst of COVID and at the same time, me going to chemotherapy, me sitting by my mom taking her last breaths wearing the same clothes for three days straight laying on the couch beside her.” Wall further explained that, “We’re all going through times, nobody’s got it easy, but I don’t think a lot of people could get through what I went through,” Wall said. “And to me to get back on top where I want to be and seeing the fans still want me to play, having the support from my hometown, this important period means a lot. I went to find a therapist. A lot of people think, ‘I don’t need help, I can get through it at anytime,’ but you’ve got to be true to yourself and find out what’s best for you.” It is important to note that Wall had the support system of therapy and his sons to assist him through that period. Every person has value in this life and if you who need assistance you should consider various resources, etc.

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Staff Writer; Mark Hines