All Articles Tagged "mental health"

How Hip-Hop Helped Me With My Childhood Depression

October 24th, 2016 - By Tanay Hudson
Share to Twitter Email This



As a child, the first things I heard about myself were that I was fat and ugly, so I believed it. Bullying planted the seed for my self-doubt and low self-esteem.  My family and the few friends I had would try to ease my pain but not even their support and kind words could help me shake my despair. While other school-aged children were spending weekends on the playground or with friends, I would sulk. My depression was mistaken for being anti-social most of the time because depression among children is highly misunderstood. According to research, 10 to 15 percent of children experience depression. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a child therapist in my life; however, I did have one thing: music.

Music was the only thing that gave me peace. When I was in elementary school, I couldn’t wait to get home and listen to Angie Martinez and Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97. Not only did I admire their talents, but listening to the music and engulfing myself in the hip-hop culture gave me an escape from my everyday hell. It helped take my mind off of the insults that were thrown at me on a daily basis. It helped me stop replaying in my mind the looks other children gave me on the playground. The Voice of New York helped me tune out the laughs of those who would take pleasure in humiliating me in front of my peers.

One of my hobbies was building an extensive collection of albums. My peers didn’t understand it and my grandparents knew the music was a little too grown for my young ears, but it was comforting. I found solace in breaking down Nas lyrics on I Am, feeling Eve’s pain on Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady and understanding Eminem’s madness on The Slim Shady LP.  DMX was intense yet compelling to my 9-year-old mind, while Jay Z not only had me in awe with his cleverness but brought excitement to my dull days when he and Nas went blow-for-blow after “Takeover” was released. I couldn’t relate to the romantic pain that Mary J. Blige sang about, but I could feel the hurt and cries for happiness in her voice, which resonated with me more than anything. I had something to look forward to when album release dates were announced or when my cousin would bring home DJ Envy mixtapes.  Listening to such gripping storytelling helped me not focus so much on my own. Not only was I bullied, by biological mother was in and out of life, and around the age of nine I realized that I didn’t know my biological father. I always had my grandparents so I didn’t wonder much about where my father was until I got a little older.  All those things brought on more heartbreak and confusion.

When I wasn’t listening to the radio, I was watching television. Instead of the Disney channel or Nickelodeon, I preferred VH1, MTV and BET. I especially enjoyed hip-hop documentaries about the genre’s early beginnings and Behind the Music, which profiled artists across different genres. I also loved magazines. I neglected teachers’ recommended readings and instead had my eyes glued to the pages of  VIBE, Jet, Black Beat and RightOn! My walls were covered in posters and my shelves were overflowing with magazines, which I also collected. My grandfather always fussed about my room but it was a safe haven. I felt closer to the musicians on my wall than I did to anyone else.

Becoming wrapped up in hip-hop culture not only helped me with my depression but also helped me discover my passion. When I would watch documentaries, music journalists like Elliott Wilson, Dream Hampton and Datwon Thomas were always the experts giving the supporting commentary. As I read magazine cover stories, Cynthia Horner, Danyel Smith and other writers captivated me with their riveting feature stories and reviews. I also wrote poetry as a child and one day it dawned on my 12-year-old mind that I could actually pursue that same career, and I did.

Experiencing depression as a child was horrible. I was filled with anguish and couldn’t understand why all my peers were happy and had friends and I was teased and rejected. When most of my friends think about their childhood they think of their favorite shows, toys, riding their bikes and frolicking on the playground. I think of my favorite albums, music videos and rap beefs. As a child, most days were nightmares but music helped me dream and brought some light to my dark days.

Why You Should Pay Attention To The Presidential Candidates’ Mental Health Agenda

October 20th, 2016 - By Tracey Lloyd
Share to Twitter Email This



Many people are one-issue voters, even in this wacky election season, and I will admit that the issue I care about most is the presidential candidates’ mental health agenda. Admittedly, I pay attention to this information because I and many people that I know suffer from a mental illness. But of equal importance to our community is the way the mental health system impacts healthcare access, the criminal justice system and in-school counseling for children. So let’s take a look at what each candidate has to say about mental health and how the proposed changes would impact the Black community.

As is expected given her long-term commitment to health care, Hillary Clinton has a very comprehensive mental health agenda that covers multiple areas of mental health: early intervention/suicide prevention; mental health parity; training for law enforcement and treatment over jail; access to housing/jobs; and brain and behavioral research.

Clinton’s early intervention platform will address disparities in diagnosis at the infant and childhood level. Research shows that children who experience trauma and sub-optimal parental involvement are likely to develop mental health problems early in life. And a study on PTSD revealed that African American children are more likely than other groups to experience childhood trauma, and more likely than other groups to seek treatment for the effects of that trauma. That kind of untreated stress leads to problems in adulthood like depression, anxiety and other conditions that can be debilitating. Focusing on childhood mental illness triggers would have a positive effect on the overall well-being of Black Americans of all ages.

Another part of Hillary’s mental health platform addresses suicide prevention. In recent years, the suicide rate among Black boys and young men has increased significantly. In 2012, suicide was the ninth leading cause of death among Black children, surpassing the rate of white children. Recently, the American Psychiatric Association estimated that 5-10% of Black men of college age experience depression, leading to suicidal impulses. We can see these statistics at large in the recent confessions of rapper Kid Cudi and Adrien Broner. Broner’s alleged violence towards a waitress is a symptom of mental health issues, more so than his Instagram suicide note. These black men, among others in the public eye who’ve died from suicide, may have benefited from an earlier understanding of depression and suicidality, as would be provided in high schools and colleges under Clinton’s plan.

Clinton’s mental health agenda also addresses the link between incarceration and mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports African Americans are six times more likely than whites to be incarcerated, and 64% of all prisoners suffer from some mental illness. Given these statistics, and the fact that Black people are less likely to seek treatment for mental illness overall, the connection between mental illness and the prison system is very important for our community. Clinton proposes funneling additional funds to local and community organizations that advocate for treatment over incarceration for non-violent offenders. Not only would this action reduce the number of individuals entering prison, it would funnel offenders to needed mental health treatments that would reduce their offenses and keep them in the community.

Donald Trump is less detailed in his mental health agenda, which is wrapped into his overall proposal for healthcare. He focuses his attention on getting treatment for people who are without healthcare in general, which is one of the biggest mental health issues in the black community. His website states:

“We need to reform our mental health programs and institutions in this country. Families, without the ability to get the information needed to help those who are ailing, are too often not given the tools to help their loved ones.”

Though non-specific, Trump correctly addresses lack of information, a problem with mental health care in this country. Lack of information, specifically in the Black community, has to do with our perceptions of mental health problems, lack of access to mental health care, and a historical distrust of the medical field, among other things. If a potential Trump administration were to actually increase mental health education and access to African Americans, that initiative alone — if effective — would itself improve the mental health and outlook of our community.

At the end of the day, many issues will impact each individual’s voting decision in November. However, taking the mental health agenda of each candidate into account in the voting decision could result in better overall healthcare for Black Americans.

Hello King Author Jay Barnett Is Making It His Mission To Help Black Boys Redefine Manhood

October 20th, 2016 - By Michelby Whitehead
Share to Twitter Email This

African-American men are often told that expressing certain emotions are weak and make them less of a man. Growing up, most are urged not to cry if they fall and hurt themselves and are instead told to “suck it up.” Manhood, however, becomes harder to deal with as life in general gets harder and it’s not so easy to suck up fears, losses, and insecurities. But men fear talking about these subjects because they don’t want to look “soft.” For Black men with mental health disorders, finding the courage to battle their demons is even tougher.

Youth inspirational speaker and former NFL player Jay Barnett knows this struggle all too well. In his latest book, Hello King,  Barnett shares his sordid past and how wrestling with his own identity led him to contemplate suicide twice. Fed up with the assassination of young men’s portrayal in the media, Barnett offers solutions to help them find their way and claim their rightful thrones.

“In today’s society there are many interpretations of what makes a man,” Barnett told us. “Social media and music have created their own meaning. The community around us has shaped its own definition. Let’s set our own definition of what makes one.

“Some young men have adopted the reset button on game consoles as the fix for their lives. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like a video game. It’s shaped by actions and decisions. So although it’s not your fault that the idea of what makes a man was falsely expressed to you, it now your responsibility to refine what makes you a man.”

So how do young men of any race get the information they need when the culture they grow up in doesn’t giving them agency to do so or access?


“I can recall winging it like many other young people. When I was getting ready for college I didn’t have any family members to get advice from because none of them attended college. I was the first of my five siblings to go. As fate would have it, I met a pastor, Juan Wesson, who took me under his wing. He had gone to college on a basketball scholarship and understood the ins and outs of being a student athlete. He attended my games and called me weekly to check on me. It was a brand new feeling to have a consistent male presence that cared about every detail of my life. It was the first time I had experienced the wonderful reality and truth of having a mentor.”

Barnett believes if it weren’t for his mentor, he would’ve dropped out of college when his mother lost her job and became homeless. Pastor Juan challenged him to hang in there. Barnett didn’t realize all that had been instilled in him until he graduated from Tarleton State University.

“I never saw Pastor Juan again, but I am forever grateful for his mentorship during my college years.”

Now as a mental health professional, Barnett’s goal is to rebuild broken kids one heart at a time. Today, the former Green Bay Packer serves as a mentor for many boys and girls in Houston via his organization, the ME Project, which hosts a series of events and activities throughout the year to inspire teens to soar against all odds and develop a healthy sense of self — especially young boys.

“What a man drives isn’t important as what drives a man,” Barnett said. “Let’s let our boys no longer be driven by their testosterone and the egos between their legs.”

On October 29, Jay will give away 100 free copies of Hello King.


Kid Cudi And Mental Health Language

October 14th, 2016 - By Tracey Lloyd
Share to Twitter Email This

Last week, Kid Cudi revealed on his Facebook page that he would undergo treatment for his depression and suicidal impulses. He bravely told his followers:

“Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I wouldve [sic] done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. . . .My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it. I cant make new friends because of it. I dont [sic] trust anyone because of it and Im [sic] tired of being held back in my life.”

While I applaud the rapper coming out with his struggles, one thing troubles me about his admission: use of the word “rehab.”

In our celebrity-focused culture, many stars have reportedly checked into so-called “rehab” for any number of maladies: exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and so forth. When they use this language, which is confusing to the public, they make it harder for the average person to seek help for mental health issues.

Sure, Kid Cudi may have meant “mental health rehab” when he posted that message on Facebook, but mental health language really matters. The average person hears “rehab” and they think “drug and alcohol rehab.” This means that in all the tabloid articles about celebrities and their struggles, we equate drug and alcohol rehab with mental health crises. Or else we ignore the mental health issues and believe that people are just checking into rehab.

Using improper mental health language ignores the true benefits of going to a certified mental health professional for mental health treatment. If the average person believes that you can check into drug and alcohol rehab to deal with depression, then they may have the wrong expectations for what kind of care they’d get while undergoing rehab. It is true that substance abuse treatment programs have a psychological aspect to them, but the focus there is on dealing with drug use rather than treating the mental health issues that may cause it. In the case of Kid Cudi, there is a history of drug use and abuse, likely as a means of self-medicating his depression and anxiety. But treating mental illness is more complicated than merely removing the substances that help one to cope with their condition. It requires focused therapy and possibly pharmacological intervention. Monitoring that kind of treatment in the long term is more than one can get from a substance abuse facility.

Of course, I understand that many celebrities say they’re going to rehab because there’s less of a stigma against substance abuse than there is mental illness. But confusing the language in this way perpetuates the stigma that there’s something wrong with getting true mental health treatment. Consider Adrien Broner. His note on Instagram was a cry for help, a suicide note written large for the general public to see. Maybe he thought that note and suicide was his last resort. But what if he lived in a world where people were open about their mental illnesses? Where other black celebrities felt comfortable talking about their therapy or inpatient mental health treatment. If we lived in a world with more transparency about mental illness, maybe Broner would have sought treatment earlier and could have avoided the pain so obvious in his Instagram note.

In spite of some improvement, mental illness and it’s treatment continues to be a stigma in the Black community, as in the population at large. Being mindful of the language used to describe mental illness and its treatments will go a long way towards reducing shame and encouraging those who suffer to get the right treatment at the right time.

“I Refuse To Be A Victim”: Kehlani Opens Up About Suicide Attempt And Practicing Self-Care

October 10th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

At the top of 2016, singer Kehlani Parrish officially started a relationship with Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. And while they looked pretty cute and cozy on social media, by March, it was alleged that she was stepping out on Irving. These rumors surfaced after the singer’s ex, PartyNextDoor, posted a picture of her in his bed on social media. After being hit with a flood of criticism online that she tried to counter (by stating that she and Irving had broken up before that photo was posted),  Kehlani became overwhelmed by the attacks and reportedly attempted suicide.

Months later, the 21-year-old singer is able to talk openly about the situation and answer questions about what really led to that dangerous decision, and how she takes care of her mental health now.

As she noted via a tattoo on her neck that says “lost and found” in Spanish, she was struggling to find her way leading up to her suicide attempt.

“I think I more so lived, and have felt myself be very lost and was obviously very lost,” she said of the tattoo in an interview with Power 106 FM’s The Cruz Show. “I think it’s more of a reminder that if I do get lost again, I can always find myself.”

When speaking on self-care, the singer said she monitors her own mental health by allowing herself to feel whatever things come over her instead of trying to push negative thoughts away.

“I think it’s a day by day thing. You take it as it comes and you act accordingly,” she said. “You don’t go hard on yourself and you don’t beat yourself up for whatever you’re feeling and you allow yourself to feel 100 percent of whatever it is.”

She acknowledges that it wasn’t one thing in particular that drove her to attempt suicide. It was more so the straw that broke the camel’s back after quite a few struggles.  But after such a traumatizing experience, which included the singer deleting her social media for a bit to regain peace of mind, Kehlani told The Cruz Show that the situation did make her much stronger.

“I’m strong enough to, thank God, be able to talk about it in a positive way,” she said. “To be able to push forward in an inspirational way and not dragging it on or making it a victimizing type situation. I wasn’t a victim, you know what I mean? I’m never a victim. I refuse to be a victim. I’m not. I think it really was a combination of things. It was one, the response was insane. Two, I think people forgot that I was a 21-year-old going through the biggest heartbreak of my life. So on top of it being a very public, scary thing with that, it was ‘I’m hurting, ya’ll. I’m going through heartbreak.’ This is a young woman who is dealing with a guy. On top of all that, it was that. It was really recovering from so many things at once. It was tough. It’s still tough…But also, on the flip side, it’s not too much that can hurt me now.”

#YouGoodMan: Kid Cudi’s Depression Admission Encourages Black Men On Twitter To Discuss Their Mental Health

October 6th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

We told you yesterday that rapper Kid Cudi revealed to his fans that he was entering treatment to take care of his mental health. As he put it in the letter he posted on Facebook, “Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. I am not at peace,” he said. “I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I wouldve done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. Theres a ragin violent storm inside of my heart at all times. Idk what peace feels like.”

Cudi stated that he felt “ashamed” as a leader to share the emotional turmoil he’s been dealing with over the years, or the “lie” he was living. But what he didn’t realize was that by sharing his story, he actually opened the door for other men, Black men in particular, to share their own struggles with mental health. According to The Grio, Twitter users @DaynaLNuckolls and @TheCosby suggested the creation of a hashtag to give Black men the space to open up about emotions they often feel they can’t share. The result was #YouGoodMan. Just like that, many men of color started to speak about their mental health battles on Twitter:

The #YouGoodMan hashtag, which asks the question of whether or not Black men are actually keeping their head above water when their minds are wrought with depression and other forms of mental illness, does just what many of us had hoped Cudi’s letter would inspire — it creates a conversation. It allows people a safe space to say what’s really going on without having to worry about someone telling them to “man up” or sweeping their feelings under the rug as something to solely pray on and take a day off to deal with. These types of discussions are necessary, and by Cudi being vulnerable and honest with his listeners, he encouraged quite a few men who may not even been followers of his to also be honest. Let the healing begin.

“I Am Not At Peace”: Kid Cudi Checks Into Rehab For Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

October 5th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

Rapper and actor Kid Cudi took to social media on Tuesday to share a pretty revealing note about his mental health. Using his Facebook page, Cudi, born Scott Mescudi, stated that he’s checked himself into treatment to deal with struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. As he put it, “I am not at peace.”

Its been difficult for me to find the words to what Im about to share with you because I feel ashamed. Ashamed to be a leader and hero to so many while admitting I’ve been living a lie. It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, but it is something I have to do for myself, my family, my best friend/daughter and all of you, my fans.
Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges.
I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I wouldve done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. Theres a ragin violent storm inside of my heart at all times. Idk what peace feels like. Idk how to relax. My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it. I cant make new friends because of it. I dont trust anyone because of it and Im tired of being held back in my life. I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling. Why not me? I guess I give so much of myself to others I forgot that I need to show myself some love too. I think I never really knew how. Im scared, im sad, I feel like I let a lot of people down and again, Im sorry. Its time I fix me. Im nervous but ima get through this.
I wont be around to promote much, but the good folks at Republic and my manager Dennis will inform you about upcoming releases. The music videos, album release date etc. The album is still on the way. Promise. I wanted to square away all the business before I got here so I could focus on my recovery.
If all goes well ill be out in time for Complexcon and ill be lookin forward to seeing you all there for high fives and hugs.
Love and light to everyone who has love for me and I am sorry if I let anyone down. I really am sorry. Ill be back, stronger, better. Reborn. I feel like shit, I feel so ashamed. Im sorry.
I love you,
Scott Mescudi

Cudi has spoken openly in the past about overcoming suicidal thoughts. As the 32-year-old told Arsenio Hall in 2014, “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 continued: “I know it comes from loneliness. I know it comes from not having self-worth, not loving yourself.”

According to the rapper, the loneliness is the most dangerous aspect of depression.

“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.”

I think it’s great that Cudi decided to be open about this journey he’s preparing to go on. It’s important to see someone with such a large fan base and level of fame using their platform to be open and honest about their own battles with mental health. It’s more common than people think.

The more we talk about it, the more people will feel less shame about seeking help for it.

The Five Worst Things You Can Say To A Depressed Person

October 4th, 2016 - By Tanay Hudson
Share to Twitter Email This

People with depression don’t always have a therapist to turn to. Sometimes they feel more comfortable confiding in friends and family instead of someone they have to build a new therapeutic relationship with. The people closest to you can be a shoulder to cry on, but the truth is they don’t always give the best advice. Not knowing what to say at times can lead to unhelpful, invalidating and insensitive reactions, leaving the depressed person feeling no better than they did before they approached their loved one for help. A person giving feckless advice isn’t intentionally being hurtful, but it’s important to understand that depressed people perceive things differently at times. So the people closest to them have to be mindful of what they say and how they say it, which isn’t always easy. As a therapist, I hear clients tell me about harsh things people spit back at them when they tell them their issues. They have to have to deal with feeling dismissed on top of their own sadness and hopelessness, which can make their symptoms worsen. Take a look at the worst five things you can say to a depressed person during a time of distress.

“It’s not that serious.”

This comment can make a person feel like they are over-reacting, which makes them second guess themselves. If they are upset then it is obviously that serious to them, and if you are their friend or family the best thing you can do is let them know you understand and offer help. This response shows that what they are upset about isn’t serious to you, which can make a depressed person feel like they are burdening you. Listening instead of invalidating their feelings would suffice.

“You’ll be fine.”

Though some people may see this response as helping a person understand that time will heal their wound, it isn’t always effective when it comes to a depressed person. Sometimes they feel like they will not be fine. You telling them that is not helping them come up with a solution. The key is to acknowledge their feelings and then help them figure out what steps they have to take in order for them to get to a point where they will actually be fine.

“I don’t know what to tell you.”

This is a horrible response to a friend or family member looking to be consoled, especially a depressed one. It’s understandable that that person’s problems may be overwhelming for you and you in fact may not know what to tell them, but it’s not a good idea to let them know that. It can make them feel like you do not want to help, and this may be true in some cases. If you do want to be supportive then telling them you understand that they are going through a lot and you are there to help as much as you can is a start. Helping them see the positive in the situation instead of the negative would help them feel more at ease as well. Or just normalizing their response to help them understand that you get why they are experiencing such an emotional response. Giving this empty reply is a no-go.

“You need to be more grateful.”

Just because a person is angry or upset about something does not mean they are not appreciative of what they have or cognizant of their accomplishments. Depressed people may have a good job, be financially stable and have a family and still struggle with being happy. High-functioning depressed folks seem to “have it all together,” so when they are experiencing a depressive episode a friend who is trying to be supportive may try to divert their attention off of what is depressing them to their accolades, which have nothing to do with what they are feeling in that moment. Focus on what they are saying, and maybe share a story of how you overcame a similar situation. It helps encourage them and helps them see they are not the only one who has been hurt.

“Maybe you need medication.”

Unless you’re a psychiatrist or therapist, you cannot assess or come to any conclusion about whether someone needs psychotropic medication or not. As someone who is lending an ear, you can most likely tell if therapy is needed, and suggesting it a great start, but that’s where it stops. Plus, people with depression do not always take medication. Use of coping skills helps a lot as well, and so does having supportive friends and family.

7 Ways To Practice Self-Care When The World Could Care Less

September 27th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This



In the email thread I’m included on for a lovely art collective and book club, we send each other messages about the different things we have going on and that are on our minds. One of the young women in the group sent out an email saying she was thinking of everyone after the recent shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, and the protests that followed. A few of the members responded, including one woman whose message struck me: “I’m sending you all back that love. Be ruthless about self care during these times.”

We underestimate just how important it is to look out for ourselves as the world around us becomes increasingly unstable. We are subject to images of our people being gunned down, we’re literally falling ill due to the chaos at our place of work, and we’re also trying to combat negative narratives that claim we aren’t enough of this, while being too much of that. When it feels like no one is looking out for us, we have to take care of ourselves. Self-care is central to good health and well-being, so you need to find a way to make it a priority. If you’re wondering how exactly you can practice self-care, here are a few examples to help you out.

Know When It’s Best to Say No

When we worry about letting people down, many of us end up saying yes to things that we know we really don’t want to do. We’re invited to an for work, and to make a good impression, we agree to check it out though we knew we wanted to do something else that evening. We agree to help a friend with something that we’re already overwhelmed by the idea of. We fit yet another responsibility into our calendar so that we can be everything to everybody. Know when to put yourself first. As one woman once told me, if something suggested for you to take part in “is not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.

Clean up Your Circle

You can’t practice good self-care if all of the people you surround yourself with leave you stressed and anxious. If the individuals in your life don’t do a good job of bringing some much-needed solace into it, or they can’t even be positive when they’re in your presence, don’t feel bad about distancing yourself from such negativity.

Do Things That Genuinely Make You Feel Good

If you want to stay in your pajamas and watch Disney movies all Saturday afternoon, why not? If you want to paint your nails while listening to the newest Frank Ocean album, go right ahead. If you just want to sleep and restore your system so you can be your best self, make it a priority. Do whatever truly brings you joy so that no matter what, you can find your own little slice of happiness during hectic times.

Treat Yourself to Some Personal Perk

Treat yourself to a massage, some new shoes, an ice cream cone — some kind of treat to celebrate making it through another week. Reward yourself for being the awesome person you are.

Run for Your Life

I know that exercising sounds so cliché and lame, but the endorphins you can release after a good workout will bring about positive feelings and provide you with a reprieve from…well, the bullsh-t. Running six miles always sounds like an overwhelming task for me, but when I finish, I literally feel at my peak on any day.

Talk to Yourself

Talk to yourself, as in, check in with yourself. If something feels off, address it. If you’re feeling exhausted, make sure you carve out time to rest at some point in the day or throughout the weekend. Feeling more stressed than usual at work? Take advantage of those vacation days you let go to waste last year and go on a trip — even if it’s just a trip to your couch for a few days. Take note of how you’re faring and do what it takes to keep yourself from feeling tapped out.

Log Off

Give yourself a break from the sensory overload that is social media. Log off and learn how to enjoy the moment. Disconnect from the foolishness for a day, or a few days, as it can definitely put your mind at ease.

Serious Question: Has A Toxic Work Environment Ever Made You Sick?

September 23rd, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
Share to Twitter Email This

Toxic Work Environments

Image Source: Shutterstock

Over the past couple of weeks, my best friend has been struggling to maintain a clear mental space when she goes to work. Every time she enters the doors of the non-profit, she begins to question if she belongs in the field because her supervisor (and coworkers) make her life a living hell.

Aside from referring to various ethnicities of color as “gross,” her coworkers taunt her to her face, ignore her when she has work-related questions, and after company events, her supervisor usually spends time cursing at the entire staff if something wasn’t done correctly.

Being exposed to this type of behavior has made my best friend develop a severe case of anxiety and has left her feeling exhausted. And while some friends tell her told her to look for new work because the vitality of her mental health is a priority, others have said it’s not the time to leave the company because it may affect the trajectory of her career. But what if your job’s Human Resources department has their own opinion about how your boss or coworkers treat you. Something along the lines of: “You just need to play the game, or else maybe you do not belong here.'”

That was Apple’s HR response to Hannah who was interviewed by MIC about Apple’s alleged hostile environment. Hannah filed a complaint with HR after a male employee sexually harassed her: “Hannah reported him to human resources and was told it had been addressed, but no one from HR would tell her what, specifically, they had done to resolve her issue,” MIC reports. “I felt like they were brushing me aside. They would ignore me if I saw them in the hallway. It was a very toxic environment,” Hannah shared. After submitting what she thought was an anonymous peer review on the male coworker, Hannah learned that he found out about her review and inevitably began to treat her more negatively. A few weeks after the peer review was submitted, Hannah’s harasser was promoted.

Other Apple employees complained about their mental and overall health being compromised once they began their careers at the tech cooperation.

Ben told MIC that he had a clean bill of mental health but after working at the company’s call center for over ten years, he now has a phobia of telephones. Ben even tried to commit suicide twice because of the work environment. “ Every time I’ve been in the hospital and mental ward, there has been another Apple employee with me. And I’ve been there three times,” he told MIC. Because of his multiple suicide attempts, his coworkers and even managers coined the term “Ben-ing out” to describe someone who appears to be suffering from mental health issues. Because of the banter surrounding such a serious issue, Ben told MIC that no one else would come forward with their own issues because it’s been stigmatized in the office. These issues haven’t been publicized in the press because Ben says Apple is held in the same high regard as the Disney franchise or even the Catholic Church.

Despite the recent press Apple and other tech companies have received for their toxic working environments, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an email to employees that he would not “stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain.” Some Apple employees argue this sentiment from Cook has yet to be applied in their own offices.

Has a work environment ever made you physically or mentally ill?

To receive mental health help, visit MentalHealth.Gov.