Depression is REAL: The Case of Shaquan Duley

Shaquan Duley (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

The Shaquan Duley case is heartbreaking and just sad all around. Last night, I caught the end of her interview with Oprah and was just shaking my head in disbelief and sadness. Depression is very real and its not just a “White folks” thing; it’s just the Black community’s dirty little secret. It’s hard to be Black with mental health issues and mental health issues is not a bad term. There is a stigma attached to it, but it is OK to have problems that you need help with. We’re all human.

Being depressed doesn’t mean a person is suicidal or “crazy” and we should really make an effort to be there for anyone we may know that is going through it rather than telling them that they should get over it or whatever. I don’t think depression is a choice…for some people it just happens. Shaquan Duley is a perfect example of how communication can be the start of healing. If you haven’t heard about her case, please continue reading.

Duley was sentenced to 35 years in prison for suffocating her two sons and then staging a car accident to cover up their deaths. She murdered her sons after arguing with her mother about her parenting skills. Shaquan was severely depressed: she was unemployed, living at home with her mother, depressed about not doing well in school, depressed that her kids’ father was not in their lives and the list goes on. Even after realizing what she did and apologizing, she was not allowed to attend her sons’ funeral. Imagine the heartbreak she felt. I’m not saying that her crime was OK or that she is a “good” person. What I am saying is that no one wins here. You have lives lost and her surviving daughter is growing up with her mother behind bars.

The caskets of Devean Duley and Ja'Van Duley arrive for the funeral Friday, Aug. 20, 2010, at St. Paul Baptist Church in Orangeburg, S.C. The boys' 29-year-old mother, Shaquan Duley, was not allowed to attend. Investigators say she confessed to smothering her children Sunday night then staging a car accident to cover up the deaths. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)


This sad case gives us a reminder that if we are going through something, we should not be afriad to reach out for help.

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