This past week, Kid Cudi rocked the social media world by sharing that he was seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. Kid Cudi’s choice to reveal his struggle ignited #yougoodman as a way for other Black folks, Black men, especially, to talk about their own journeys of cultivating and maintaining mental health. His openness and vulnerability created space for others to share how they combat a world that is often destructive to the souls and physical existence of Black folks.
This discussion is hugely important and timely. One of my friends, who is a black, male mental health clinician, has said that “Depression in the Black community looks like people making a series of bad choices”. For us, major depression might not mean being unable to get out of bed, but functioning despite feeling emotional devestation or the emotional void of numbness.
After generations of being forced to endure extreme psychological and emotional suffering, many of us are ill equipped to deal with or emotions in a healthy way. Because of our collective, generational trauma from slavery or colonialism, many people of color believe that emotions are unimportant. We tell each other to “man up” or to remember that we are “strong black women”. Many of us have been taught to harness our anger from experiencing racism into energy to propel us towards success. We are instructed to push down or deny other emotions, like sadness and fear because too many feels get in the way of our survival.
We’ve been sent the message that our feelings are the least of our problems or that they don’t matter at all, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our underlying feelings shape our beliefs. What we believe underlies what we do or don’t do to secure positive outcomes for ourselves and each other.
Our future as individuals and a community is inextricably linked to us being as healthy as possible. Let’s continue the dialogue and keep taking action to ensure we achieve global health–physical, psychological, and spiritual.