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Tuesday evening rapper Kid Cudi posted on social media about his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. In a Facebook post, Kid Cudi details his decision to check himself into mental health treatment. This admission marks a drastic change in the conversation about Black mental health, especially for men.
In his post, Kid Cudi mentions that concept of shame which seems to have been a barrier for him to access treatment in the past. It’s also what Kid Cudi cites as the reason he is only now beginning to speak out about his emotional issues. It seems that his internalized ideas of Black masculinity serve as a barrier for him in owning his own emotional experience. It is this idea that prevents many of us from seeking the support that we need, particularly in the Black community.
Most of the conversations about mental health in the Black community, in my experience, reinforce the idea that all things can be overcome by sheer willpower. While this supports one’s autonomy, it also creates an environment of isolation. For those with mental health issues, it is this isolation that can be so dangerous. This seems to be the case with Kid Cudi’s recent revelation.
Many Black men suffer in silence when it comes to mental health issues. The veil of the hyper-masculine ideal keeps us from seeking the support that we need to overcome life’s challenges. Cultural stigma around therapy and psychological problems is a huge barrier for Black people in accessing support. It is this stigma that affects our ability to recognize the challenges and emotional reactions that we experience on a day-to-day basis. To appear acceptable and hold fast to our idealized view of Black masculinity, many of us push down any and all feelings.
The pressure to present as cool, tough, or indestructible is stifling for Black men and other men of color. Of course, this is also true for many different racial ethnic groups. But for Black men in particular, the pressure to present as strong pillars in the Black community in the face of racism and systemic oppression leaves little room for vulnerability and tenderness. This pressure is detrimental to Black men’s mental health. This is something that Black men struggle with, especially in this postmodern era of race relations. In the wake of police violence against men of color, and Black men in particular, there are a barrage of Facebook posts and social media mentions about the impact on Black lives. In my experience, more often than not, the reaction focuses on the anger about this violence. But as Kid Cudi expresses in his post, it’s so much more difficult to talk about the pain and vulnerability that exists underneath.
In response to Kid Cudi’s statement, the hashtag #YouGoodMan popped up on social media. This hashtag encourages Black men to talk about their challenges with mental health issues. In this space, Black men can find much-needed support to address their concerns about depression, sadness, anxiety and a whole host of other mental health concerns. All too often, these ideas never see the light of day. Today is a new day. Black men will no longer suffer in silence.
Kid Cudi’s revelation opens the door for other Black men to talk about the emotional issues they face. His statement about seeking help for his suicidal thoughts presents a model for other young, Black men to get help. He serves as inspiration for those who may be struggling with mental health issues and feeling like they have to fix or deal with these problems on their own. Kid Cudi has given himself a new chance at a happier life and by sharing his story, many more Black men may just do the same.
Source: 30dB.com – Kid Cudi and Mental Health
“Kid Cudi Social is with you. 88% positives with discussions about your strength in coming forward and bringing the issue to people’s attention. Let’s hope this attention brings about change.” – Howard K. 30dB
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