18-year-old Kindra Chapman killed herself in an Alabama jail cell -- just one day after Sandra Bland, 28, was found dead in a Texas jail.
Both deaths were ruled suicides following preliminary investigations.
While Bland's family and friends have difficulty accepting her suicide, Chapman's family now believes she killed herself.
"We are so grateful for the outpouring of support for Kindra. We are devastated that she is gone, and we miss her terribly," the family noted in a statement released to AL.com.
The family told AL.com police showed them a video of Chapman hanging herself with a bed sheet in her jail cell. They also saw other evidence that convinced them she took her own life.
Chapman was arrested on first-degree burglary charges on July 14. She was booked into the jail at 6:50 p.m. One hour later, her lifeless body was found hanging by a bed sheet.
Bland's supporters immediately linked the 2 suicide cases as further evidence of some sort of conspiracy by law enforcement to murder black people in police custody.
Facebook friends say Chapman, a soft-spoken lesbian whose girlfriend was pregnant, suffered from depression.
Like Bland, Chapman did not seek treatment for her depression. And, like Bland, she self-medicated with marijuana.
According to The American Psychiatric Association, 1 in 4 black Americans suffer from mental illness each year.
People who are depressed lack good coping skills. Stressful situations can push them over the edge because they see no hope in their future.
As someone who once suffered from depression myself, I can tell you that every day was a struggle to find a reason to stay alive.
Being homosexual only compounded the problem. Gays have higher rates of depression than society at large.
While other races routinely seek professional help for their mental illness, black people suffer in silence due to the stigma attached to mental illness.
Rather than seek treatment, black people depend on prayer and spirituality to chase away the "demons" that cause their depressive thoughts.
Others, like Bland and Chapman, self-medicate with mood altering drugs.
First lady Michelle Obama talked about the need to reduce the stigma in the black community.
"There should be absolutely no stigma around mental health," she said at a recent mental health summit. "None. Zero. ... It's time to tell everyone who's dealing with a mental health issue that they're not alone, and that getting support and treatment isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength."
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