Mental Health has always been a hard topic to talk about. However, I think this might be the hardest topic to talk about in the black male community. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, African Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental health conditions due to unmet needs and other barriers.
According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Common mental health disorders among young African Americans men include: major depression, ADHD, suicide and PTSD, because African Americans are more likely to be victims of violent crime. African Americans are also more likely to experience certain factors that increase the risk for developing a mental health condition:
- Homelessness. African Americans make up 40 percent of the homeless population.
- Exposure to violence increases the risk of developing a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. African American children are more likely to be exposed to violence than other children.
As many people know, Kanye had a little bit of a "BF" *White Chicks voice* (bitch fit for those who don't get it), at his Sacramento, Calif., concert just over a week ago. Kanye began his "BF" first by ranting about Beyoncé to begging Jay-Z to call, he ended the concert after only performing two songs. He said, "Beyoncé, I was hurt cause I heard that you said you wouldn't perform unless you won Video of the Year over me and over 'Hotline Bling.'" He continued with, "I've been sitting here to give ya'll my truth even at the risk of my own life. Even at the risk of my own success, my own career. I've been sitting here to give ya'll the truth! Jay Z, call me, bro! You still ain't calling me. Jay Z, call me. Jay Z, I know you got killers. Please don't send them at my head. Just call me. Talk to me like a man!"
Those last few lines, "Jay Z, I know you got killers. Please don't send them at my head. Just call me," made me wonder. Tuesday, Kanye was hospitalized for observation and is reportedly suffering from paranoia and extreme depression. I have seen a lot of people make comments about how this is all new and, "He's stressed because of his mom, he's stressed because of his car accident, he's stressed because Kim and the kids were robbed." I will address his mother in a second but let me make a few things clear for these people.
1. Kayne's car accident happened in Oct.of 2002. It is Nov. 2016. It has been 14 years, please don't make an excuse.
2. As harsh as this may sound, People DO get robbed everyday, and a lot of the time, they DO get killed. Kim could have been robbed anywhere, at anytime, by anyone. As you can see, security does mess up, and THE KIDS WEREN'T WITH HER! Stop using this as an excuse. STOP MAKING EXCUSES WHEN THIS IS A REAL THING.
I began to think back to some of my favorite Kanye songs and really listen to the lyrics. Is there something that we're missing here? The first lyric that came to my head is from 2012, Clique ft. Jay-Z and Big Sean. Kanye rapped " Went through, deep depression when my mama passed, Suicide, what kinda talk is that?" As most people know, Donda West died Nov. 10, 2007. It was determined that she died of heart disease while suffering "multiple post-operative factors" after plastic surgery.
Another lyric that came to mind is from 2016, FML, from "The Life of Pablo." "You ain't never seen nothing crazier than this ni**a when he off his Lexapro." Lexapro (escitalopram) is an antidepressant belonging to a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Lexapro is used to treat anxiety in adults. Lexapro is also used to treat major depressive disorder in adults and adolescents who are at least 12 years old.
Obviously Kanye has been talking about this for some time now, but why did we have to wait for him to hit a downward spiral to address it? Like I said before, this is a real thing. As much as he likes to claim he's God, he's not. He's human, he makes mistakes and he feels real emotions and pain.
I haven't seen a whole lot of mental health in black men, especially black men who are prominent in media, addressed until Kid Cudi used Facebook to let everyone know what was going on in his life.
Why were we all so shocked by this?
We're even letting it get to a place now where we've started to laugh rather than search for reasons, understanding and help. If you haven't seen the videos of Orlando Brown's interviews on Facebook, I encourage you to Google them. He is the perfect example of someone who has lost control. He seems and acts as if hes going through drug withdrawal or having a mental breakdown and we're all sitting here and laughing at him.
So how do we fight the stigma on mental health in the black male community? Below I have a list of resources we can being to use. I encourage everyone to use them if needed, whether it be for yourself or someone you know. The hardest part is taking that first step, reaching out for the help.
So, I did the hardest part for you.
Crisis Text Online - Text "GO" to 741741. Free 24/7 and confidential
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255
Emergency Services - 911