By Jasmine Cochran
Rapper Scott Mescudi, better known as Kid Cudi, recently checked himself into treatment for “depression and suicidal urges.” While online communities are lauding him as a hero and offering their support for such a brave move, the stigmas surrounding depression, suicide, and overall mental health are prevalent in the black community.
In order for people to experience a truly healthy mental state, they need to feel like there is a safe place to express their struggle in this area. In order for this to happen, the black community needs to dismantle the myths related to mental health:
Prayer is all the therapy you need. In an episode of the hit TV show Girlfriends, Joan told the girls she was planning to start therapy, to which Maya promptly and confidently responded, “Black folk don’t go to therapy, we go to church!” This mentality is prevalent in black communities, suggesting that when we pray the right way, mental and emotional issues can be overcome. While religious involvement can certainly play a role in mental health, it is not a sole solution. If spirituality is of great importance to you, seek out a Christian counselor, but there is no need to suffer alone, all in the name of Jesus.
Depression is the manifestation of a demonic spirit. While church can offer a lot of values and solid disciplines, it can sometimes offer false information, masquerading as truth. Depression can often be attributed to a chemical imbalance, or a not-yet-healed traumatic experience. When this is the case, medication, or talking your troubles out with a professional (who, by law, cannot repeat a word you say), can bring about drastic, positive results.
Therapy is for rich folks. While it’s true that some therapy sessions can run upwards of $200/hour, not all therapists charge these kinds of rates. Many employers offer a set amount of free sessions with a therapist as a supplement to company insurance plans. Even if you can’t get full sessions covered, a portion of the sessions may be covered under your plan. If that isn’t an option, there are therapists all over, including small towns and online. Some even work pro bono or are paid by the state. If you need help, do the homework of seeking it out. It could be the best investment of time and money that you’ve ever made.