Photo from Run the Trap
By Hunter Frederick
On Tuedsay, hip-hop artist Kid Cudi announced through his Facebook page that he had checked himself into rehab for depression and suicidal thoughts. The musician, whose real name is Scott Mescudi detailed how ashamed he was to have been “living a lie” and how he felt had to go to rehab or risk having “done something to [himself]”. Towards the end of the post, Mescudi thanks everyone who “has love for [him]” and expressed his hopes of speedy recovery. But his last words before his signature are “I feel so ashamed. I’m sorry.” In those few words lie more insight into the problem that Mescudi and countless others like him face every single day, often with little support.
In articles following the event, a Huffington Post article wasn’t just about Kid Cudi checking into rehab for depression suicidal thoughts; it was more about how, in doing what he did, and doing it publicly, Mescudi opened up a space for black men and people of color in general to speak about the issue of mental health. There’s a huge stigma surrounding mental health, and frankly some of the ignorant attitudes on the subject are flat out enraging. Some believe mental health is joke, or something that doesn’t need to be taken seriously. Others take it as one more thing that’s wrong with the “millennial generation,” usually just after or directly preceding making fun of safe spaces and trigger words. But here’s the deal; mental health is real, medical issue and meaningful action must be taken to treat it as such.
Of particular note, is how difficult it is for masculine people-of-color to deal with mental health issues. The stereotypes surrounding masculinity and people-of-color intersect with each other, and further complicate the overall issue. Men and masculine people are often expected to not show or have emotions or feelings or show any vulnerability. This problematic narrative is often pushed throughout and individual’s life, and by the time you’re our age, you’ve been conditioned by the world around you, and by yourself, to adhere to these standards. Mental health is also a difficult topic within people-of-color communities; it can be difficult to have your issues taken seriously and for you to receive the help you need in order to combat the issues you have.
I feel it’d be best to illustrate this point with a personal example. As someone who identifies I’ve had my own difficulties trying to convey my issues to people. I’ve been told to just “get over” serious issues that were adversely effecting my health. One thing I remember being frustrated about was trying to convince some friends back home that I was really going through something. I’ve also seen other friends struggle to communicate with their friends and family. And it never leads to a good place.
If I’m going to use this little soapbox I’ve fashioned for myself to say anything of note, let it be this: we need to do better. Mental health isn’t an isolated issue that’s affects the weak or unfortunate; it’s a very real issue. It’s encounters no boundaries and everyone is susceptible. according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). These numbers are alarming and that’s just the result of the category the NIMH has data for (one out of five adults have a diagnosable mental disorder). That doesn’t include the undiagnosable and the unreported, a Category I believe a fair portion of us fall into. We can listen to each other more, and look out for signs that someone is going through something. To anyone reading this, particularly my fellow men of color, you are not alone. If you’re going through something, please reach out. Speak up. Someone will listen. You’re issues are real, and you’re not any less of a man, or person, for having them.
Disclaimer: This is a blog post in which an opinion is established. We encourage our readers to reach their own conclusions based on reading several articles that support and refute an opinion. The opinions established in this article do not represent the beliefs or ideals held by the Stony Brook Independent.