Last week, I came across The Siwe Project, which focuses on mental health awareness in what it calls the “global black community.” What drew me there was a newly posted essay by Carolyn Edgar, who describes herself as a Harvard law graduate, a writer and a single mom. Her essay for the project’s No Shame Day begins bluntly: “My name is Carolyn Edgar, and I have No Shame. When I was fourteen, I tried to commit suicide.”
The Siwe Project is named for a girl who killed herself last year at the age of 15.
Her story must have touched something in Carolyn, whose essay describes how reading a popular novel gave her the language of depression “and, to my confused teenage brain, its cure: suicide.” She then learned how difficult and painful a suicide attempt could be. “More importantly, I had knowledge I hadn’t had before about what it would actually take to finish the job.” But an open talk with her mother soon after her attempt pulled her off that course.