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Mental Health: Karyn Washington Should Not Be Dead

The U.S. lapse in judgment on mental health issues have come to the forefront relentlessly over the past week or so. Let me give a couple of examples:

  • The Shooting At Fort Hood: A shooting spree occurred at several locations on theFort Hood military base near Killeen, Texas On April 2, 2014. Four people were killed while sixteen additional people were injured. One of those four included the gunman (34-year-old Ivan Lopez, whom died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound). All of this occurred over Lopez trying to retrieve a “leave of absence” form so he could tend to “family matters”. [1] Oh,         and he had been treated for mental issues prior to this incident.
  • The School Stabbing of Murrysville, Pennsylvania:  A teenage went on a stabbing rampage at his high school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, early on April 9th, 2014. Eventually, Alex Hribal (the student that did the stabbing) was tackled by an assistant principal before it became much worse.  Twenty students and a security officer at Franklin Regional Senior High School were either stabbed or slashed in the attack. [2]

These cases are both horrifying for a few reasons. For one, they dealt with multiple people being either killed or seriously injured. Another issue is the unexpected rampages that were played out. Both males went for trying to take out multiple people. Adding on the obvious loss of feeling secure in an already paranoid world just adds more fuel to the fire of distrust.

The Bigger Mental Health Circumstance

However, there is one mental health situation that actually struck an even bigger chord. Mind you, it was not as heinous and far reaching. Then again, that may be a part of the bigger issue: it is not physically affecting people in a harsh moment. Instead, it is a more insulated situation. It actually deals with a person having inner issues.

And those inner issues erupt into the suicidal situation. The latest victim is Karyn Washington.

Karyn Washington was the popular creator of For Brown Girls. It is a movement to uplift and authorize brown-hued Black women to become greater than their obstacles.

Karyn Washington was also the spearhead behind #DarkSkinRedLipStick, a project tobreak down the barriers that riddle the mentalities of thinking darker skinned women and the negative images associated with them.

Karyn Washington also suffered from depression.

Karyn Washington worked hard to be strong for others, but where was the help when she needed someone to be strong for her.

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Karyn Washington was only 22. 22 years old! She had done so much and had yet to witness “a full life”.

Karyn Washington and the Haunting

And this situation haunts me. It haunts me more than the kids/adults being injured inPennsylvania. It also haunts me more than the victims of the horrific Fort Hood madness. As terrible as those situations are, Karyn Washington’s demise haunts me the most.


Well, it is simple: she gave up herself for the sake of others. Maybe she gave herself to try to save herself. Maybe so much of her work was a pure reflection of the issues that she mentally dealt with. When a person works so hard to help others see their own beauty, you would think they were strong enough to conquer anything. Then again, even Supergirlhad Kryptonite.

In fact, we all have our moments of Kryptonite induced weakness.

The biggest problem that exists is our expectations of people have led to this situation. We want people to be durable enough to handle it all on their own. We teach people to endure, pray, love, eat, pray some more, and look to the heavens. We use examples of others to reassure that we can make it happen with our own mental endurance. In the end, we want people to be strong so others can depend on them.

However, we consistently fail at teaching people how to be WEAK. How often are we teaching people to reach out? How often are we having people to get professional help that goes beyond bent knees, holy water, and scriptures? How often are we finding a way for someone to have a psychoanalysis done? How often are we making sure that the strong realize that their strength does not always come from inside?

Mental Health As Is

Once again, we have failed those that are not mentally healthy. We failed those in Fort Hood. We failed those in Pennsylvania. Even worse, we failed Karyn Washington. Yet, I don’t see this situation getting any better. In fact, there will probably be more of these situations until something is done.

People, it is time to start doing something for those that need extra help. It is time to help others become mentally healthy.

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