When I wrote “Why Are Young Blacks Killing Themselves?” for EBONY.com in 2014, I had just learned about the death of Yusuf Neville, a popular Hampton University grad who committed suicide by jumping from the upper deck of parking lot. While it troubled me to my core, it also intrigued me. Having been at the bottom of my freelance career at the time, I was struggling with my own depression and suicidal thoughts. Back then, I contemplated taking my own life many times because the promise of being young, gifted and Black was starting to feel like a curse.
What I’ve learned over the years my feelings weren’t unique. For many of us, we often pack our emotions under our professions, relationships, and our workload until we reach a breaking point. When I learned of Neville’s passing, it shocked me that the world finally got a glimpse of the pain that I had been dealing with in private.
Cleveland rapper Kid Cudi recently revealed his own ongoing battle to the world, once again reminding me us why we need to have even more candid conversations about mental health, especially in the Black community.
Tuesday night, Cudi took to his Facebook page to express his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Often, mental health is still a topic that is often taboo in our communities. But one of the amazing things about social media is its ability to round people up for a cause. And many took the time out to show and share their support for Kid Cudi during a very dark and personal time.
Proud of Kid Cudi for checking into rehab for depression/suicidal thoughts. Hope it helps people realize that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
— William Ketchum III (@WEKetchum) October 5, 2016
Little did Kid Cudi know, He was saving his fans from the same issues he was suffering from.
Praying for you. @KidCudi
— scottiebeam (@ScottieBeam) October 5, 2016
Much love & light to this brave soul. What an example he is, even in his moments of vulnerability. Your truth is your only freedom. pic.twitter.com/LPVTroZ7Me
— KOF (@kofisiriboe) October 5, 2016
Whether you want to believe it or not, there is someone in your life who is struggling with their mental health. One of the things that got me through the difficult period in my life was having friends, and sometimes family, that I could turn to and confide in. And while the battle is personal and different for each person, safe spaces are important for those who need help.
If you don’t know how or where to start, here a few reads to help:
I believe more people would be open and honest about their struggles if they had people in their lives who supported their healing, and it they knew they weren’t alone. Kid Cudi’s openness and bravery is a reminder to speak up and out when we’re struggling, or think our loved ones may have a problem. It may just save a life.