By Nadine Matthews,
Shocked and saddened by what she was hearing in her classrooms when she worked as a substitute teacher a few years ago, freedom coach, lifestyle hacker, dating consultant, divorce guru, and author Cheron Griffin, felt she had to do something about it. “When I asked the children what was on their hearts, they started to tell me some of their parents and other family members had tried to commit suicide and how it affected them.” Some of the children had themselves contemplated suicide citing low self-esteem, bullying, or abuse or not feeling loved in the home as reasons.
Griffin clarifies that though when she says she wrote the book for our children, she means ALL of society’s children, she does want people to be aware that suicide has started to have an enormous impact on the Black community. “Black children between the ages of eight to twelve are number on in that age range, who are committing suicide. In the Houston school system over a thousand children committed suicide last year.”
The irrepressible Philadelphia native (she’s currently based in Houston) thought it best to come up with a way to prevent people from giving in to the dark thoughts and emotions that lead to suicide. Cheron Griffin decided to write her own book, “I SEE YOU: Igniting Hope & Preventing Suicide,” her own way.
More a pithy, punchy booklet full of hopeful snippets and colorful custom emojis, “I SEE YOU: Igniting Hope & Preventing Suicide” is helpful advice and encouragement anyone on the brink of suicide or self-harm can easily digest. The strategy makes a lot of sense. When someone is at the point of contemplating suicide they often don’t even have the energy to get out of bed. Reading a book full of complicated ideas then, is certainly also out of the question. The book’s text is punctuated by the three-syllable refrain, “I see you,” as its passionate, hopeful motif, and ends with the phone number for the National Suicide Hotline. That particular phrase is important because, Griffin says, “Not enough people know that someone really does see them. We communicate so much about the negatives in our society that a lot of people get lost. I see you and you are loved really is the gist of the book.”
Per her bio, Griffin is a published author, radio talk show personality, internationally known speaker, and entrepreneur with a 12-year tenure in philanthropy. She is also the CEO of Grow a Girl Network Inc., a non-profit organization that addresses multiple issues affecting our youth. “I’ve had the desire to encourage people all of my adult life, but it was when I was substitute teaching.
Though it was media reports that finally prompted Griffin the mother (and grandmother of three also has personal experience with suicide, revealing that her god-daughter recently attempted suicide. “Thank God, she’s okay now but she is still dealing with anxiety and depression,” states Griffin.
Griffin isn’t done yet. Creating a comprehensive creative protocol to combat suicide, she has also composed an ode to faith, hope and the rewards of carrying on, entitled I See You Freedom, which is available on Soundcloud. She’s also working on a film script with the same themes.
An avid traveler who has been to Thailand, Spain, the Caribbean, and Tokyo among other places, Griffin will soon be hosting numerous self-care retreats around the world. “Traveling for me is self-care. That’s when I really get the time to talk with God about my issues and press the restart button on my life. Traveling allows you to experience other cultures if you really take the time to. You get an appreciation of your own blessings.”
Griffin is also a former First Lady, an experience she pulled on for her most recent book, “3PM: The Preacher, The Power, The Penis, and Me” and her reality series “Preacher’s Exes.” She indicates that the experience for many First Ladies, is far from what we would assume. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I hate the term, ‘First’ Lady. It means that there were others.” she laughs. She also witnessed a lack of accountability, opportunism, and rampant hypocrisy that got in the way of the true mission. On a less bittersweet note, she explained, “It has helped me in what I’m doing now as far as my faith. Being in ministry allowed me to acquire that.”
“I SEE YOU: Igniting Hope & Preventing Suicide” is now available on Amazon.
This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.