If you are a black person in the United States, you know that the odds stacked against us may sometimes seem insurmountable. You most certainly know black men who are struggling just to survive in everyday life. Just imagine the struggle for black men behind bars. Black men who are behind bars have begun harming themselves in record numbers.

According to City.NYC, Most people who are behind bars will not admit to being guilty of the crimes they are incarcerated for. But there are some people who are adamant that they are innocent, and they actually are. Imagine being incarcerated for something that you did not do. We’ve all heard of DNA evidence proving that some of those people did not commit the crimes that they are serving time for. Imagine the mental and emotional toll that takes on a person's soul.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, correctional facilities began to see a spike in suicides and attempted suicides within the facilities. In the years leading up to 2020 there were a few suicides reported within the Rikers Island facility. In the last nine months, five incarcerated people took their own lives, making 2020 the most deadly year in at least a decade.

Correctional facility employees as well as incarcerated people describe the climate within jails as despairing. We understand that being in jail is a form of punishment, but it shouldn’t mean that a person would rather die than life within the facility.

Advocates for incarcerated individuals say that the climate within the jail and prison facilities are a crisis point. During the pandemic, healthcare services and mental health services slowed almost to a halt.

Black men are typically the last people who will seek help for their mental health. If you know someone who is in jail; or even on the outside and struggling with depression, reach out to him and encourage him to seek help.

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