Tracy Morgan is a real comeback story. Morgan was involved in a near-fatal car accident in 2014 that almost took the comedian’s life and left him with severe brain trauma. Ironically, the accident that made him appreciate life even more almost made him take his own. “Saturday Night Live” favorite, Tracy Morgan, sat down recently with Rolling Stone to talk about his suicidal contemplations while going through rehabilitation.
Mental health issues in the Black community have continued to be a growing concern as Black men are dying from suicide at high rates. The Centers for Disease Control reported that between 1999 and 2004, young African-American males had the highest rate of suicide.
Morgan’s thoughts of dying had been looming in his head a year and a half before the car accident took place. He said losing his prized talent would mean losing his life. As Morgan underwent rehabilitation the thoughts came back even stronger, this time in the form of suicide.
“I said, ‘If my funny ever went away, I’d die’…And I thought I was going to die for a long time. My thoughts – I was in a very dark place. I was sitting right here, contemplating suicide. I couldn’t walk.”
The “30 Rock” star was able to pull through the scare by taking some much needed advice from his deceased father, Jimmy Morgan. The near-death experience that left Morgan in a coma for eight days gave the funny man a much needed time for reflection.
“He was the one who said, ‘Go home, son. I ain’t ready for you yet.’ I don’t think I cheated death. I think this was the plan. My room wasn’t ready.”
The comedian knows his time on this Earth is more than just about him. His purpose is larger than just playing Hustle Man on “Martin.”
“I still have shit here to do,” Morgan said. “It’s gonna take more than 18 wheels for me to get out of here. I have to raise my girl, raise my wife, raise my family.” Exotic pets, too. “Gotta keep my octopus alive. Gotta keep my sharks alive. Those are God’s creatures! I’m needed!”
While Black men like Morgan survived this scare, there are many brothers dying in silence from this illness. A common misconception in our community is that Black men don’t commit suicide. It’s believed that Black men are too strong or macho to commit such acts, but increasing cases of suicide are dispelling the notion. The stigma of mental health in the Black community keeps many men from seeking the necessary help. This, combined with societal expectations, are causing many men to fend for themselves emotionally. Leading experts in the field believe that there is no sign of help for Black men in the mental health area.
Tracy Morgan On Overcoming Suicidal Thoughts: “My Room Wasn’t Ready” was originally published on BlackDoctor.org