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How many of you all know anything about Jim Crow? (Part 23)

The “Talented Tenth”, were blacks who moved to the North to try to escape Jim Crow, and brought with them, skill sets such as musicians, artists and writers.

Sharecroppers, were blacks and the poor white people, who gave a share of their crops to the plantation owner. They were essentially in the same boat.

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James Donaldson Interview with “After ‘Homeschool” featuring Ann Davison Sattler (Pt. 3)

My thoughts on Black Lives Matter vs All Live Matter.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Former #StudentAthlete Dies By #Suicide; His Family Uses Tragedy To Help Others

Former Bonneville High School #studentathlete Braydon Pugmire. | Courtesy Brad Barlow

UCON — From the outside, 17-year-old Braydon Pugmire seemed like a typical successful #teen.

He played on the Bonneville High School #football and #basketball teams, and he served on the student council. He was active in his Latter-day Saint congregation, he got his Eagle Scout rank, and he loved working and playing outdoors.

But on the inside, Braydon was struggling emotionally. It’s not clear when he started thinking about ending his life, but we do know that he didn’t talk to his loved ones about his thoughts and feelings, and ultimately, Braydon took his own life in 2017.

Braydon’s #suicide wasn’t the first or the last, and unfortunately, #suicide remains a very real outcome for eastern Idahoans who suffer from debilitating #mentalhealth.

When it does happen, the loss has a tremendously negative impact on the families and friends of the victim as they struggle to move forward. But for the Pugmires, losing their son and brother was also an awakening call to action that’s led them to help other people who might be in Braydon’s shoes.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

This is the Pugmires’ story.

Never saw it coming

Growing up, Braydon was very active in his community and seemed to genuinely enjoy life. His parents, who have six children, describe him as somebody who was outgoing, loved making people smile and had a special way of connecting with younger kids.

“Everyone loved him,” Braydon’s mom, Marisa Pugmire, said.

That’s partly why no one saw or even suspected Braydon was considering #suicide. In retrospect, Marisa remembers some things that may have been warning signs, such as frequent sleeping in and skipping meals, but at the time, she didn’t think much about it.

The family was blindsided on July 5, 2017.

That morning, one of the Pugmires’ friends called Marisa and asked if they were home. After telling her they were, the friend quickly responded, “Is Braydon home?” Marisa said he was at work. Within minutes of that call, the friend was at the Pugmire house showing her a text Braydon had sent the friend’s daughter the night of July 4.

“He had texted (her) and said, ‘Thank you for being such a good friend to me. Would you tell my mom and dad I love them and to check the flag in my room?’ Marisa recalls reading. “I didn’t even get the whole text read before we were running down the stairs.”

Under his flag that he had gotten from Cedar Badge, a program that teaches youth leadership, teamwork and decision-making skills, was a #suicide note. In the letter, he said he was struggling with himself, and he felt that he couldn’t meet his parent’s expectations.

Not long after reading the note, the family learned that after Braydon hugged his mom goodnight on the Fourth of July, he sneaked out of their home and drove to the hills. He then shot and killed himself inside his vehicle.

It was the summer before his senior year.

“I think that first little bit was, how did I not know that my own son was struggling?” Marisa said. “And then my next concern was how many other kids are struggling that no one knows about?”

That question prompted Marisa to take action.

RELATED: Ririe #teen who tried to take her own life wants others to know #suicide isn’t the answer

Using tragedy to help others

Since 2014, Marisa has been a Jazzercise (dance fitness) instructor. Shortly after Braydon’s funeral, Jazzercise Idaho Falls — where she works — held an instructor’s meeting, and they asked Marisa how she was doing. Instead of focusing on the heartache of losing her child, she told them she needed to do more for people in similar situations.

Marisa wanted to use her talent of teaching Jazzercise to help high schoolers close to Braydon’s age get involved in something positive and have an outlet that helps improve their #mentalhealth.

With the help of a Bonneville High School aerobics teacher, Marisa started going in once a week to host a free Jazzercise class. Marisa made sure the students knew that Braydon was her son, and he had taken his life. She made it clear if any of them needed somebody to talk to, she was there.

“The whole class, I try and make sure positive words are coming out of my mouth,” she said. “I always end my class with ‘Be the reason somebody smiles today.’”

Marisa has taught around 200 students over the past few years. There have been several times when past students will approach her and remind her of the positive impact she made in their life.

She says if people can help others learn to love and feel good about themselves, reinforce whatever needs to be said to them or get people talking more about their thoughts and feelings, they will help lessen the suicidal rates.

“People can talk to me, and I will listen,” Marisa said. “I don’t think I would have been able to do that before (Braydon took his life).”

The year following Braydon’s death, there were 418 Idahoans who died by #suicide, including 48 Idaho Falls residents and 58 individuals in Pocatello, according to an Idaho Department of Health and Welfare #suicide in Idaho fact sheet. That same year in 2018, the report states that Idaho had the 5th highest #suicide rate in the #UnitedStates.

Have conversations, build positive relationships

Before losing Braydon, the Pugmires didn’t talk about #suicide or #mentalhealth as a family, and they had conversations that seemed to only scratch the surface. That has all changed now.

“I try and make sure I’m asking my kids questions more and visiting with them not just, ‘Hey, how was your day?’ I’m always looking for ways to spend more time with them and make them more of a priority than maybe other things,” Marisa said. “I don’t worry so much about do we have the nicest house (and) do we have it decorated the way everyone else does? Everything gets (put) into a bigger perspective.”

Braydon’s dad, Justin, said they do have high expectations for their #children, but they try and make sure their kids know no matter what, they are there for them.

“(Braydon) knew we loved him, but he probably didn’t realize that we’d love him, even if we knew the mistakes he’d made,” Justin said.

The Pugmire family | Courtesy Casie Hammer

Building positive open relationships with your kids when they are young instead of waiting until they’re a #teenager to figure out how to talk to them is crucial, Marisa said.

“If you can talk about it, it’s easier to cope with it and work with it. If you don’t know about it and don’t talk about it, then they’re fighting it on their own,” Justin said. “It gets to a point where you can’t win.”

Along with improving their conversations and strengthening their relationships as a family, Justin and Marisa said on more than one occasion they’d been asked to speak with other parents who have lost a child to #suicide.

Although it’s never easy to do so, the Pugmires are grateful for the opportunity they have to help people that are in the same boat as them.

Every day, about 123 #Americans die by #suicide, according to the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. And in a year, more than 44,965 #Americans take their own lives.

Idaho’s rate of #suicide is 1.5 times higher than the national average, the suicide in Idaho fact sheet explains.

“It’s definitely a problem,” Justin said of the statistics. “There’s a lot of suicides, and most people don’t know about it. They are daily. A lot of people keep it secret because it hurts. That was one thing we chose not to do.”

You never know what somebody is going through

The unexpected passing of Braydon opened the Pugmires’ eyes to the fact that people never know what somebody else is going through.

At Braydon’s visitation, Marisa remembers telling countless kids that came through the line things like “You matter,” and “You’re strong.” She did this because she didn’t know if somebody she encountered was feeling how Braydon had felt, and she didn’t want them to feel that pain.

“It was like somebody else was feeding the words into my mouth and into my head to say to them,” she recalls. “It was like Braydon was right there saying, ‘Mom, tell this person.’”

Justin said losing his son has taught him to be more patient with his other children and try harder to understand them. He said he tries to not jump to conclusions as quickly as he used to.

Those lessons learned are something he hopes other parents will take to heart.

“We don’t ever know exactly what they’re going through,” Justin said. “Even as parents, we don’t know exactly what they’re going through, so we need to learn to be patient with them and love them where they’re at and make sure that they know that we love them.”

On Thursday, EastIdahoNews.com will dive into the most commonly diagnosed #mental disorders in #children and address the role parents play in their child’s #mentalhealth journey. Braydon Pugmire at a Bonneville High School football game. | Courtesy Brad Barlow

Photo by Karl Solano on Pexels.com
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How many of you all know anything about Jim Crow? (Part 22)

W.E.B. DuBois was a very vocal critic of Fisk University, once it sold itself out to it’s financial backers.

Learn about the role that Fisk University played in shaping the minds of blacks.

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James Donaldson Interview with “After ‘Homeschool” featuring Ann Davison Sattler (Pt. 2)

In this video, Ann and I are talking about what drove me to the point of writing letters about the Mayor, and speaking up for the “Non-vocal majority”.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Supporting #MentalHealth Amid The #Coronavirus #Pandemic

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

by James Gordon

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) — The stresses of months of quarantine, joblessness and seeing images of violent civil unrest could take a toll on your #mentalhealth. Sadly, #pandemic-related suicides have been reported in many parts of the country.

But there’s a new tool coming for those on the edge.

One of the factors affecting #mentalhealth is information overload.

“Pick one of two times a day that you chose to be informed, whatever topic it is, and then turn the TV off. Turn Facebook and Instagram off, lower your time on #socialmedia, and really technology in general. There’s a lot of research to support the more time you spend on technology the more stressed or depressed you are,” said licensed counselor Kari Whatley.

Whatley uses equine therapy to treat clients who have contemplated #suicide.

“If you wanted to have a recipe to create #depression and #anxiety and increase #stress in people, it would be the #pandemic,” said Whatley.

The #COVID-19 #pandemic, racial unrest and so much more uncertainty in the world can easily become triggers for #suicide.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

In a recent NBC News report, the focus was on a staggering rise in #suicide attempts by #Black #children. The report states that nationwide, #Black and brown #children are less likely than non-#Latino or #white #children to receive #mentalhealthservices.

Regardless of race or circumstance, we’ve seen a spike in #suicide calls. For example, in Baldwin County this year between the months of March and June there were 41 #suicide attempt calls and 150 #suicide threat calls to 911.

“We have experts on a lot of situations, but preventing a #suicide is definitely not one of those. So we would have some call scripts that could help us,” said Baldwin County 911 Director Joby Smith.

On the horizon is a new nationwide 9-8-8 number to be launched next month. Three lifesaving digits connect the caller directly to the #NationalSuicidePreventionHotline.

“9-8-8 is going to get them more quickly to the people who are trained to help them with their problems,” said Smith.

That new 9-8-8 number will be launched in July, pending FCC approval.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com
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James Donaldson Interview with “After ‘Homeschool” featuring Ann Davison Sattler (Pt. 1)

Ann and I are talking about how much Seattle has changed in the 40 years I’ve been here.

I’ll be running a short excerpt from our interview, daily for the next several days.

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How many of you all know anything about Jim Crow? (Part 21)

In 1919, there was a lynching of an African American, every 4 days in the South. It was outright terrorism!

In 1922, the NAACP started writing in detail about the rampant lynchings that were going on.

Fisk University was very instrumental in giving blacks a place to be educated and a platform to fight back against Jim Crow. That all changed when Fisk University started a fund raising campaign that required Fisk to change it’s policies.

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Researchers Sound The Alarm About Rising #Suicide Rate Among #Black Youth

(Dan Meyers via Unsplash)

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

In the span of just two weeks, two #Black #men were recently found hanging from trees in the Antelope Valley. Some believed they were lynched, arguing that a #Black #man wouldn’t take his life in that way.

The case of Robert Fuller in Palmdale is still under investigation. The family of Malcolm Harsch, who was found in Victorville, said after reviewing footage from a nearby surveillance camera that it believes the 38-year-old took his own life.

We looked at #suicide in the #AfricanAmerican community, and found a complicated picture.

[If you or a loved one needs help, call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Los Angeles County maintains a 24-hour bilingual hotline at 800-854-7771]

In 2017, #Black Californians died by #suicide at less than half the rate of White Californians.

Statistics like these have long contributed to the narrative that #suicide is a White phenomenon.

WRONG ASSUMPTIONS

“For a long time it was assumed that #Black people really did not commit #suicide at the level or rate that we often think of in the general population, and that in fact it was unusual to hear about a #Black person committing #suicide,” said Dr. Altha Stewart, a dean at the University of Tennessee’s College of Medicine.

But Stewart, who’s also a former president of the #AmericanPsychiatricAssociation, said research is showing that those assumptions are wrong — at least regarding #Black #youth.

Studies have found the #suicide rate among #Black #youth ages 5-11 is increasing faster than for any other racial or ethnic group. Researchers determined that for the 10-19 age group, it had nearly doubled between 2007 and 2017.

For those under age 13, #Blacks are taking their own lives at twice the rate of #Whites, according to Dr. Michael Lindsey, executive director of NYU’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.

“It has been important for us to call out these trends and do the research to document it,” he said.

“We can no longer afford for the face of #suicide to be that of older #White #men,” Lindsey said.

He noted that he worked on a study that found that between 1991 and 2017, #suicide attempts by high schoolers decreased for #Whites (by 7%), #Latinos (by 11%) and #Asians (by 56%). But the number went up significantly for #Blacks — by 73%.

‘I HOLD MY BREATH SCROLLING MY TIMELINE’

Lindsey and other experts are concerned that the current moment will have further negative #mentalhealth impacts on the #Black community. #COVID-19 is disproportionately harming #AfricanAmericans, while at the same time images of police brutality and killings of #Black people are ubiquitous.

“As a #Black #woman, I hold my breath scrolling my timeline, because there’s just so many headlines,” said Ashley Stewart, a researcher at USC. She worked on a recent study that looked at the #mentalhealth effects of exposure to traumatic events online — such as police killings — on people of color.

“Seeing these videos was in fact associated with symptoms of #depression and #PTSD,” she said.

Stewart is curious about whether seeing these events online might be a factor in young people of color considering #suicide.

Lindsey said he’s often asked why we’re seeing an alarming increase in suicidal behavior among #Black #youth in recent decades.

He doesn’t have an answer, he said, because of a lack of research on the topic.

STRUCTURAL RACISM HINDERS RESEARCH

That’s why Lindsey calls for more funding and a better pipeline to get researchers of color into the field to investigate the risk factors for #suicide among #Black #youth.

“In this contemporary context, it’s only going to make matters worse if we do not address these issues,” he said.

Lindsey served on the Congressional Black Caucus’ Emergency Task Force on #Black #Youth #Suicide and #MentalHealth. The task force found that Black scientists are less likely than their White peers to be awarded federal dollars for their proposed studies.

“The structural racism of research is not unlike the structural racism that governs clinical care and education in the health care arena,” said the University of Tennessee’s Stewart, who also served on the task force.

There are some signs of change in this area, though. Just last week, the #NationalInstituteofMentalHealth put out a call for research on Black youth #suicide, citing the task force report.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com
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How many of you all know anything about Jim Crow? (Part 20)

In the early 1920’s, Tulsa OK, the Greenwood area was deemed, Black Wall St.

Tensions arose when the Tulsa newspaper reported that a black man had raped a white woman.

300 African Americans were killed and the city (35 city blocks) was essentially burned to the ground. Not a single white person was ever prosecuted.

Terrorism was how blacks were kept in their places.

Listen to a gruesome retelling of a lynching in this video.

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