What happened: Singer and reality TV actress Tamar Braxton spoke out on Twitter Thursday to confirm a recent suicide attempt and open up about her struggle with mental health. According to Variety, the star was hospitalized on July 16 after a suicide. In her statement, Braxton spoke out on injustices she says she’s faced in the entertainment industry — in particular reality TV and how a letter she described as a recent cry for help went ignored. Braxton previously starred in “Braxton Family Rules” along with her family and was set to take part in a spin-off called “Get Ya Life.” However, its release has been postponed.
Thank you to each and every individual who has prayed for me, thought of me, sent me their love and has showered me with their support. In this present moment, it is my only responsibility to be real with myself and to be real with the ones who truly love me and care for my healing. … Mental illness is real. We must normalize acknowledging it and stop associating it with shame and humiliation. — Tamar Braxton
First and foremost, Thank you. Thank you to each and every individual who has prayed for me, thought of me, sent me their love and has showered me with their support. In this present moment, it is my only responsibility to be real with myself and to be real with the ones who truly love me and care for my healing. I have without fail, shared with you my brightest days, and I know that sharing with you what has been my darkest will be the light for any man or woman who is feeling the same defeat I felt just only a week ago. Every one of us has a desire, whether small or big, to make it out of where we come from to an ideal future place that includes, freedom to be who we choose, security for our children and families, and fortune to share with the ones we love. We believe these things can co-exist with just being happy. I believed that, that as a black woman, as an artist, an influence, a personality I could shape my world, and with whom I believed to be my partners, they could help me share my world. Over the past 11 years there were promises made to protect and portray my story, with the authenticity and honesty I gave. I was betrayed, taken advantage of, overworked, and underpaid. I wrote a letter over 2 months ago asking to be freed from what I believed was excessive and unfair. I explained in personal detail the demise I was experiencing. My cry for help went totally ignored. However the demands persisted. It was my spirit, and my soul that was tainted the most. There are a few things I count on most to be, a good mother, a good daughter, a good partner, a good sister, and a good person. Who I was, begun to mean little to nothing, because it would only be how I was portrayed on television that would matter. It was witnessing the slow death of the woman I became, that discouraged my will to fight. I felt like I was no longer living, I was existing for the purpose of a corporations gain and ratings, and that killed me. Mental illness is real. We have to normalize acknowledging it and stop associating it with shame and humiliation. The pain that I have experienced over the past 11 years has slowly ate away at my spirit and my mental. (Swipe to finish )
A post shared by Tamar Braxton (@tamarbraxton) on Jul 30, 2020 at 12:57pm PDT
The Frontlines: In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death but the fourth cause of death among people aged 35 to 54. One Australian study showed a glaring incidence of mental illness in the entertainment industry. But anyone can experience suicidal thoughts.
Approximately 46% of those who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition, but suicidal thoughts don’t just affect those with mental illness
Despite the high incidence of mental illness among the general public and entertainers, representation remains low in the media with only 7% of TV characters having a mental health condition
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, know you’re not alone and help is available. Reach out to loved ones, seek professional help or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741
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A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Jazz Kim, shared her experience after two suicide attempts saying, “It’s OK to not be where you want to be. It’s OK to be in this limbo state of not quite actively suicidal but not quite present in living. It’s OK to be struggling. I’m writing this in hopes that more of us share our stories because life after suicide attempt(s) isn’t always amazing mainstream ‘success’ stories. A lot of treatment for mental illness is trial and error with many educated guesses.” You can submit your first-person story, too.
From Our Community:
Other things to know: Other Mighty contributors are speaking out about their experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts. Their stories can empower family and friends to offer support and understanding:
How to take action: You can also read Braxton’s full statement here. To find a therapist in your area, you can use this handy tool or call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline for assistance in finding resources in your area at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).