Montgomery native Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss’ death brings mental health awareness into focus

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 3:40 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2022 at 7:42 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -News of Montgomery native Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss’ death once again brings up the important topic of mental health.

Statistics show in Alabama more than 78% of all suicides are committed by men. There has also been an increasing number of suicides among African Americans, and health experts say research shows men of color are less likely to seek help.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss attends the FOX 2022 Upfront presentation at the Four Seasons Hotel New...
Stephen "tWitch" Boss attends the FOX 2022 Upfront presentation at the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown on Monday, May 16, 2022, in New York. His wife, Allison Holker Boss, confirmed his death Wednesday.(Christopher Smith | Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)(AP)

Justice White, the clinical director at Carastar Health, says there’s a serious mental health issue in the United States.

“Men have traditionally said, “Hey, just grab yourself by your bootstraps and pull them up.” But I tell people at times, sometimes you don’t have any bootstraps. So the bootstraps might be some support systems,” White explained.

White says it’s important to check what he calls an emotional temperature of what’s going on with yourself and with loved ones.

“Look at the sleep patterns of a person, if they are sleeping quite a bit more than normal or not sleeping as much. Sometimes it can be as much as the change in appetite, say a healthy person is now eating everything and saying, making comments like, “Well, we got to die of something.””

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, major risk factors for suicidal behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • A history of depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental illness diagnoses
  • A serious personal loss or number of losses and defeats taken personally
  • Low self-esteem and self-loathing
  • Social isolation
  • Believing there is no hope for feeling better
  • Chronic alcohol or other drug use
  • Easy access to the means for dying, such as guns

Most suicidal people communicate their intent at some point near the time of their attempt. White says they may start writing letters for loved ones or show a burst of energy.

“It’s like they exhale because they know that they’re not going to try to go any further or live any longer,” he noted.

If you are feeling vulnerable or suicidal or are worried about someone, call 988, the national number for all mental health help.

Not reading this story on the WSFA News App? Get news alerts FASTER and FREE in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store!