While researching African-Americans that have contributed to the advocacy and/or the clinical progress of mental health, I continuously stumbled upon Black celebrities who have shamelessly revealed their struggles with at least one mental illness.
This is relevant Black history.
Because it brings awareness to an issue that affects so many lives. It is relevant to Black history because it helps to save Black lives.
African-Americans have been hindered from receiving help for mental health issues due to the stigma and shame attached. When more people speak out, especially prominent people such as celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Hallie Berry, Kanye West, Gucci Mane and Fantashia share their stories of struggling with a mental health related issue, it helps the audiences within their platforms to have the courage to get help themselves. (More details about their experiences can be read in the Essence article, “Celebrities Who Have Struggled with a Mental Illness or Depression”)
An untreated mental illness can lead to more severe emotional problems. It not only affects the person with the mental disorder, but it also affects their loved ones and those within their social realm.
Living with a mental illness is challenging, but a healthy and enjoyable life can exist when the person receives some form of help. The drastic alternative of not receiving any help can lead to death.
In the April 22, 2014 article published in the Atlanta Black Star, it reported that there were seven Black celebrities who had sadly taken their own lives. Suicide is the permanent solution that we want to eliminate as an option.
So to all the Black celebrities who have openly shared your struggles, thank you for making Black history. We need more voices so that we can eliminate the silent killer. My prayers for each of you as you live with this privately and publicly.
Want to know more about mental health and how it affects the Black and faith-based community? Check out my new book release, Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind.