All Articles Tagged "mental health"
People suffer from depression for all sorts of reasons. From a horrible break up to just a rough patch in life, depression can hit at any time, and for some it’s a never-ending condition they have to cope with every day. If you are dealing with depression, don’t think that dating is out of the question — or that you should hide it from your partner. Here are 14 tips for dating with depression.
Ever find yourself going HAM in inappropriate places and regretting it later? Try to take the high road with one of these calming techniques.
First things first, take a deep breath.
During his recent appearance on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” rapper Kid CuDi revealed that his true passion is assisting the youth in combatting loneliness and overcoming suicidal thoughts.
“Really, my mission statement since day one, all I wanted to do was help kids not feel alone and stop kids from committing suicide,” the 30-year-old rapper expressed.
It turns out that preventing suicide is a mission close to CuDi’s heart because he has actually battled against suicidal thoughts in his own life.
“I dealt with suicide for the past five years. There wasn’t a week or day that didn’t go by where I was just like, ‘You know? I wanna check out.’ And I know what that feels like.”
He adds that in many cases, those thoughts stem from feelings of loneliness and lack of self-worth.
“I know it comes from loneliness. I know it comes from not having self-worth, not loving yourself. These are things that kids don’t have music that can coach them and give them that guidance. I didn’t have that. I had to listen to Jay Z and take certain things from it and the other sh-t I just didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Thankfully, he has decided to use his negative experiences as inspiration to stand in the gap for other young people who may be going through similar experiences.
“But what about the kids…you never had an artist where you connected with them all across the board, you know? And I think that’s my job. I’m just really just trying to guide people and help people because loneliness is a terrible, terrible thing, man and if you don’t know how to conquer it, it can eat you alive.”
As for how he’s doing currently with these detrimental thoughts, CuDi says he has a better grasp on things now.
“I’m good. I’m alright,” he revealed.
His decision to come forward and discuss such a personal issue is certainly admirable. Hopefully his story can help someone else.
Watch his interview on the next page.
Last week’s near-tragic story of a pregnant mother, who attempted to drown herself and her children by driving the minivan into the ocean, is a perfect reminder of how little regard we give to the impact domestic violence has on women, particular ones, who might be mentally ill.
According to published reports, a $1.2 million bond has been set for 32 year old Ebony Wilkerson, who is facing three counts of attempted murder, as well as other other charges, for the near-fatal incident, which resulted in bystanders rescuing her children, ages 3, 9 and 10, from their minivan as it was almost submerged off the coast of Dayton Beach, Florida. Wilkerson, who was 27 and 1/2 weeks pregnant at the time, was also able to escape without injury.
The Washington Post writes that just mere hours before driving herself and her children into the ocean, Wilkerson’s sister had called the police and reported that her sister had been, “talking about Jesus and how there are demons in my house and how I’m trying to control her but I’m trying to keep them safe.” The story goes on to say that when police stopped her Honda Odyssey, she told them that she feared that her husband would find them in Florida and harm them.
Wilkerson’s own children also told authorities of a history of violence between their mother and father and that they had only come to Florida to escape him three days before she tried to drive them into the ocean. Furthermore, the kids told authorities that their mother had been “acting crazy and speaking to Jesus” since moving to Daytona Beach.
The Post also writes:
“The children said that while driving south on the beach, their mother pointed at the ocean, locked the doors, rolled up the electric windows and then jerked the steering wheel, sending the minivan into the waves.One of the children asked her what she was doing, and she said: “’I am keeping us all safe,” according to the affidavit.”
Obviously Wilkerson is mentally unstable here. And thankfully they all survived. But I have a hard time reconciling the idea that locking this woman up in prison is the best outcome in this situation. Like, wouldn’t mental health treatment as well as domestic violence assistance, be more beneficial – and I’m talking about for both Wilkerson as well as her children?
As recent research shows, particularly this study from the King’s College London and the University of Bristol that reviewed data from 41 studies worldwide, both men and women with mental health problems are at an increased risk of domestic violence. However as it relates to women, the study shows that women with depressive disorders were 2 and a half times more likely to experience domestic violence – even worse for women with post-traumatic stress, who were seven times more likely be in domestic violence situations. In fact, one of the lead researchers is quoted in saying, “The evidence suggests that there are two things happening: domestic violence can often lead to victims developing mental health problems, and people with mental health problems are more likely to experience domestic violence.”
An article in The Grio highlights a Johns Hopkins study, which shows that one out of every three women abused during pregnancy went on to develop depression in the first 12 months of the child’s life. And according to this study, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Postpartum Depression Care Among Low-Income Women, a disproportionate number of black and Latina women who suffer from postpartum depression do not receive needed services including diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care.
I point to those studies to remind us that the effects intimate partner violence has on an individual isn’t just limited to physical acts of violence and scarring. Intimate partner violence also has the potential to impair someone’s mental capacities or even accelerate already existing mental health issues. Coupled or even multiplied with other hardships in life (like economic instability) and we have a vitriol situation ready to pop-off, say like driving your kids into the ocean. I know that there are the hardline amongst us, who live strictly by the motto of: if you do the crime, then you must do the time. But if your “crime” was also the result of your victimization, where exactly is the justice in that?
And according to statistics by the Correction Association of New York’s Women in Prison Project, (a group, which is trying to get legislation passed that would consider domestic violence history in sentencing decisions) in New York alone, seventy five percent of woman incarcerated have endured severe intimate partner violence during their adulthood. Moreover, 93 percent of women incarcerated for killing an intimate partner were abused by an intimate partner in the past. It certainly seems that we victimize survivors of domestic abuse twice, when we not only fail to protect them from abusers but then punish them harshly and indiscriminately when they attempt (no matter how extreme) to break free.
32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson has been charged with attempted murder and child abuse after she drove a minivan containing her three children into the ocean surf off Florida last week, News One reports. Eyewitnesses say that the children, who are ages 3, 9 and 10, were screaming to bystanders that Wilkerson was trying to kill them.
“She told them to close their eyes and go to sleep. She was trying to take them to a better place,” said Volusia County Sheriff, Ben Johnson.
Wilkerson, who is currently pregnant, denied trying to harm her children, but witnesses say that she attempted to keep bystanders from rescuing them by locking the minivan’s doors and windows. One witness even said that the children tried to wrestle the wheel from her. As water began to seep into the minivan, Wilkerson reportedly exited the vehicle, leaving her screaming children inside.
Following the incident, Wilkerson was hospitalized to undergo a mental evaluation and was later taken into police custody. Her children have been placed with the Department of Children and Families. The expectant mother has since been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder.
“You’re supposed to protect your children at all costs,” Sheriff Johnson said at a press conference. “You’re not supposed to try to kill your children.”
Prior to the incident, Wilkerson’s sister frantically called the police stating that her sister had spoken about demons. After receiving the call, officers stopped Wilkerson, who was en route in her Black Odyssey with her children in the back seat. While speaking to the officer, she discussed fears that her husband would be coming to Florida to hurt her and her children.
“It was clear during my conversation that Wilkerson was suffering from some form of mental illness, but she was lucid and did not provide any signs that she met Baker Act requirements,” the officer wrote in a police report.
Family members say that Wilkerson was in fact, involved in an abusive relationship and that she fled to Florida to escape her husband. We’re glad the kids are okay. Hopefully Wilkerson will get the help she needs.
‘He May Be A Paranoid Schizophrenic:’ Carmen Bryan Wants Nas To Undergo Court-Mandated Mental Evalutation
Last week we told you that Carmen Bryan filed a child support lawsuit against Nas, claiming that he refuses to pay his daughter’s college tuition and medical expenses. Due to wording in court documentation, it was also being reported that Carmen wanted Nas to be thrown in jail, but Carmen says that simply is not true.
“I do not want to see my child’s father go to jail,” she recently explained to Mara The Hip Hop Socialite.
She did, however, suggest that the Queens rapper seek mental help.
“However, I do want to see him get the mental help that I believe he desperately needs. So this situation is a curse and a blessing with regard to the fact that there are some deep-rooted mental issues that I believe exist and need to be addressed.”
As for why she feels justified in speaking on her ex’s mental state:
“Well first off, let me just say my experiences with Nas, my dealings with Nas, and my research all lead me to believe that he does suffer from bipolarism and he may be a paranoid schizophrenic,” Carmen explained. “That’s my personal opinion based on my experiences and interaction with him.”
She went on to recount an experience where Nas allegedly told her that he was being haunted by ghosts.
“An incident occurred with Nas years ago when we were together. I came in the house, Destiny and I, and he was on the couch wrapped up in a blanket; his mom was on one side of him, his brother on the other side, there were a few more people in the house. My first reaction was, ‘Is everything okay? What happened?’ And that’s when Nas told me ghosts were haunting him again, and entities were whispering to him and touching him and bothering him. This is something that he mentioned when we first got together, but I had never experienced him ever experiencing it until that moment. So, I’ve witnessed this long battle with insanity.”
The “It’s No Secret” author adds that Nas’ mental health struggles are quite obvious to those who really know him.
“Anyone that knows Nas, knows him, they know that he’s off. I believe that he is terrified, and he’s afraid of public backlash and humiliation. I also believe that he’s afraid the medication will numb him, or turn him into some kind of zombie so he won’t be able to write and create, which will ultimately ruin his career. These are my personal beliefs based on my past experiences and conversations with Nas. Like I said, I just want to see him get the help I believe he desperately needs, at the end of the day he is Destiny’s father. I’m concerned.”
Carmen also discussed their daughter, Destiny, having to stop school because Nas abruptly stopped paying her tuition.
“This thing started, unbeknownst to me, in June of 2013,” Carmen continued. “Nas just stopped paying Destiny’s tuition. I have a court order that says he has to pay 100% of her secondary education, which is college. Nas dropped out of school I believe 7th, 8th grade, so he’s ignorant and uneducated. He’s a junior high school dropout; he doesn’t believe in education. My thing is she wants an education. After all she’s been through, she desires it, and she deserves it. What she doesn’t deserve is to get half way through an accelerated program, and have to stop because her father refuses to pay the tuition. But this time, I want things to be different. I don’t want him to go to jail – I want him to get help.”
Lastly, she explained why she believes her recently filed child support lawsuit will push Nas to finally seek help.
“My legal team is going to file a motion and ask the judge for an order to have him mentally evaluated before we proceed because like I said, I don’t want to see him go to jail, but I do want to see him get the help that possibly, based on my experiences with him, he needs.”
Do you think her accusations are true?
A lot of times in life, it’s very easy to see where everyone else falls short. It’s easy to see when others are toxic and need to be out of our lives, but what happens when we are the ones that are toxic? What happens when you’re your own worst enemy?
I feel as though in life we can hear everyone else’s cries for help, while ignoring our own. As the year is just starting, and people are focusing on creating a “new me,” don’t forget to include improving your mental wellbeing. Here are a few things that might be indicative of doing better/needing improvement.
Marvin Sapp Talks Suicidal Pastors And Seeking Professional Help: ‘Honestly, That’s Probably The Only Reason I Didn’t Take My Life’
In the Christian community, suicide and thoughts of suicide are discussions that are often avoided. And when they are discussed, people often receive responses like, “You aren’t praying hard enough,” or questions that would imply that the sufferer is somehow not sufficiently grounded in their spiritual walk. However, the truth of the matter is that mental health struggles are very real, and accepting Jesus Christ doesn’t always erase those struggles. Christian recording artist and pastor Marvin Sapp recently opened up about the mental health taboo in the urban community and the latest occurrences of pastors who have committed suicide.
“I can be honest and say I absolutely understand what these men of God have gone through,” the widowed father of three told The Christian Post. “The pressures of pastoring and being in the public eye, losing someone you love and all of that. I find after reading through their stories that all of them are similar to mine in one way, shape, form, or fashion. If it’s the pressure of ministry, if it’s the pressure of losing a loved one, whatever it may be.”
Marvin went on to say that he can relate so much, that he often examines their situations and questions what it was that kept him from caving under pressure after the death of his wife, MaLinda Sapp, who died of colon cancer back in 2010.
“I look at their situations and I say to myself, ‘What was it that caused me to stand, even when I could have folded just as they did?’ People always say the pressure will cause a pipe to burst.”
It turns out that even though he questions how he made it through, he already knows the answer. Surprisingly, it’s his late wife’s advocacy for psychological well-being.
“One of the greatest blessings of being married to MaLinda Sapp is that my wife was a licensed psychologist who was also a college professor in psychology and who was a major advocate for mental health on the board of a mental health hospital here in our city.”
Because of MaLinda’s work in the field of psychology, Marvin and his three children naturally went to counseling after her death.
“Being a pastor is pressure because we have to counsel people,” he said. “Honestly,” he added, “that’s probably the only reason why I didn’t take my life, was because from day one, and even now when it’s necessary, I make sure I go and sit and have a conversation with my doctor.”
It’s great that he’s speaking out about such an avoided subject.
Though she’s known for her bright smile, big personality and for always playing somebody’s mama, there’s another side to Jenifer Lewis that most people don’t know about: her mental illness. The 57-year-old actress was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1990 and after 17 years of therapy and 10 years of being medicated for the illness, she’s ready to open up about it, while offering advices to other who may be suffering from the same disorder.
“I was overwhelmed with my grief, unable to handle my feelings,” Jenifer told News One after admitting that a key trigger for the disorder was the death of her father. “I cried and cried, and I started to scream. I wanted to be let out of the darkness.”
Though her father’s passing may have served as a trigger, Jenifer says that it wouldn’t be until three years later that she actually sought professional help. It all began when a girlfriend saw her screaming on the floor.
“I don’t think this has anything to do with your father dying,” Jenifer recalls her friend saying to her.
Not long after, she discovered she was bipolar.
“It’s hard to accept that you have a problem,” Jenifer said. “That’s another piece of the disease – the denial. You think everyone cries themselves to sleep. You should ask yourself why am I so depressed, why am I so angry with my children, angry with my partner…why am I depressed, or over the top?”
She continued to describe some of the effects of the illness.
“You always find yourself at the center of some drama.”
In addition to seeking professional help and resisting the urge to self-medicate like she did in college, Jenifer says self-love is needed to combat the illness.
“You have to look in the mirror … and say—before you can go or grow into anything—you have to say you love yourself.”
In a culture where discussing mental illness is sometimes considered a taboo subject, we think it’s pretty brave of Jenifer to speak openly about her personal battle.
During my undergraduate tenure at Florida State, I had the fortune of being taught by one of the most important black psychologists in the country, Dr. Naim Akbar. Dr. Akbar, while discussing the psychological state of black people in America, said “every negro living in America needs some form of therapy. When you think about what’s been done to us and our history in this country, America is lucky that it isn’t overrun with a bunch of crazy n*****.”
When asked what it would take to get men, specifically black men, to attend a therapy session, I thought of 1,000 different reasons it wouldn’t happen. When I say “therapy,” I’m making specific reference to sessions which include couches, a licensed psychologist discussing a patient’s feelings, and daily/weekly visits. Discussing black men’s aversion to therapy without talking about the barriers would be pointless, so I’ll start there. Afterward, I’ll discuss how those barriers can be broken.
Men “being men” isn’t the answer
Firstly, we need to understand how the stereotype of men’s emotional disposition can prevent them from seeking therapy. Society says men are supposed to be strong, unemotional, and silent. If a woman needs help, she has an almost endless amount of resources to choose from. The stereotype of the man being strong and silent works against men, especially black men, because we aren’t allowed to verbalize what is wrong with us without being seen as weak. This is particularly destructive for black men because carrying the burden of being one of the most oppressed groups in the United States has been a direct cause of so many young black men ending up in the prison system. The rules need to be rewritten to show black men that talking about problems and dealing with them head on in a safe environment is an example of strength, too.
It starts with the parents
A discussion of how the stigma of mental health and how it’s viewed in the black community needs to be addressed. What I’ve found in my previous experience as a mental health counselor for “at risk” youth is that parents have a hard time understanding the problems at hand so they’re either perplexed on what to do or believe the problem to be temporary. Instead of parents admitting there might be something wrong, parents simply say “there’s nothing wrong” or the kids are “just acting up.” That attitude is carried for those same children when they turn into adults. Rather than concede there is an issue, black boys grow up to be black men who think “there’s nothing wrong” or that whatever is bothering them will simply go away. A refusal of their parents to acknowledge a little black boy’s actions not being “normal,” turns into black men who can’t own up to the notion of something not being quite right with them and to then seek help.
Therapy ain’t cheap, or just for white people
The last barrier I wanted to touch on are the costs associated with seeking treatment. A cursory glance on your favorite search engine will give you a wide array of prices on therapeutic services. The price can range from $60 an hour all the way up to $250+ an hour. Certainly nothing to sneeze at. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a large portion of the black community believes therapy, on the whole, is “for white or crazy people.” Ignorant? Absolutely, but I’ve seen it and heard it a hundred times over so I know this line of thought exists.
We know the problems, what are some solutions?
So how do we combat all of this? These solutions are available, but I’ll admit they’re not as easy to do as they are to write about. For starters, there would need to be a paradigm shift in the way men are treated in society. We need black men to realize that seeking help to deal with certain issues is perfectly acceptable. Being able to ask for help, instead of carrying the entire world on their shoulders, needs to be seen as a sign of strength. Not the other way around.
Secondly, the stigma of seeing a therapist needs to be reduced. Building up more support in the black community about the benefits of attending therapy sessions, black parents being able to admit they may need some outside assistance in finding out what’s wrong with their child, and newfound respect for the work mental health professionals can help tremendously.
Finally, though therapy costs can be costly, I’ve noticed that there are insurance policies available that can cut the costs down. If that’s not an option, black men can look for other resources that provide an open and safe place for them to share their burdens. Whether it’s group therapy, counseling sessions at whichever college they attend, or simply talking to someone else about what’s going on, there are alternatives to traditional forms of counseling and resources for those who can’t afford to pay the full cost. One just has to look for them.
Getting men to go to therapy, no matter the race, is a tall order. As a black man, I can attest that gender stereotypes, how mental health is viewed, and the costs associated with therapy are definite barriers to seeking help in this manner. Though I talked about some other solutions, I also want to take the time to say that black women can definitely play an integral part in pushing men to seek help as well. Author Charles W. Chestnutt once said “when it is said that it was done to please a woman, there ought to be enough said to explain anything; for what a man will not do to please a woman is yet to be discovered.” In other words, plenty of men out there will do anything to please their woman and if going to therapy is what would make her happy, he’d damn sure at least consider it.