We need every tool we can gather for the Great War against Spiritual Ashiness.
Welcome to another round of Mental Health Monday, your weekly dose of stories, resources, and motivation for your everyday life. On last week's Mental Health Monday, Angela Helm wrote about that time her mom's breakown was captured on WorldstarHipHop, Katrina explored the dangers of the "ride-or-die chick" narrative, Hakim Hill dove into code switching and how it affects us, and Da Brat's story of loss was featured for Children's Grief Awareness Month. Have a gander.
THIS WEEK'S GOODNESS:
This week, we take a look back at one of the most revealing songs on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, which explored self-hate and self-love. Here, he spoke with MTV about the depression and suicidal thoughts that inspired the song, and how real life traumas impact his music.
"‘Sometimes I Just Don’t Wanna Be Here Anymore’: On Black Children and Suicide" by Kondawani Fidel [The Root]
A scarred brown palm flew in the air. A squeaky preteen voice followed: “Can you tell me how to cope with suicidal thoughts? Because sometimes I just don’t wanna be here anymore.”
I was sitting in front of a class of middle schoolers who were reading my book, Raw Wounds, when a student asked that haunting question. I can’t lie; when I asked the kids, “Do you have any questions before I start speaking?” I wrongly assumed that they would raise questions about my book. Boy, was I wrong.
"Army lifts ban on waivers for recruits with history of some mental health issues" by Tom Vanden Brook [USA Today]
The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year's goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
"Mental health summit aims to help young black men, boys cope with trauma" by William Lee [Chicago Tribune]
The four-hour summit, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Connect Gallery in Hyde Park, will also address the effects of social media on fueling the trauma on black youths and adults.
“With social media, I feel like we’ve normalized so many abnormal behaviors. At any given point you can log on Facebook and … you can see a picture of someone dead in the street,” she said.
"Are Black Children Killing Themselves To Avoid Abuse?" by Stacey Patton [Dame Magazine]
When I was around 8 or 9 years old I tried to kill myself.
The first time, I threw myself down a narrow flight of carpeted stairs. The second time, I tried to poison myself by drinking peroxide. I had to lie to my adoptive mother about the limp, the twisted ankle, and the burns on my mouth and throat. The truth that I had intentionally tried to hurt myself would have led to another whupping.
David was many things: a star football player, a great friend, a loving brother. He also struggled with an addiction to crack cocaine. Erricka remembered, “What’s crazy about him to me is that when he wasn’t using, he was helping other people get clean. He was an angel, a teddy bear.”
Aaaaand model Doraezha opened up about her journey with bipolar disorder.
If you have a mental health resource, event, or piece of content we should know about, step into our office. You da bess.
And hello. Welcome to another edition of Mental Health Monday. There's much to be jolly about. As April unfolds and springtime finally decides to evict ol hateful-ass winter from the premises, coconut oil and shea butter rained from the sky on today as Barack and Michelle Obama's post-presidential glow up continues. Hoards of folks rejoiced at the sight of Lady Michelle Obama's natural hurr, further demonstrating the benefits their newfound freedom and peace of mind, along with Barack's new well-rested zaddy-with-popping-tax-returns steelo. And Auntie Maxine shows no sign of giving the Tangerine Terrorist a break. Joy.
THIS WEEK'S GOODNESS
"Black Mental Health: Jared shares his story on being diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder" [Bianca Hughes]
"How These Psychologists Are Prioritizing Mental Health Care For Black America" by Zahara Hill [Huffington Post]
"In December, they began uploading videos to YouTube as part of a series titled “Our Mental Health Minute.” The series, targeted toward black audiences, serves as a quick and relatable mental health resource, particularly for those seeking some form of consultation but hindered by the stigmatization of mental health care.
Anderson said the pair set out with three goals: to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health care in the black community, heighten mental health literacy and provide access to mental health resources."
"Black Student-Athlete Summit raises awareness about mental health" by Maya A. Jones [The Undefeated]
""A common point all panelists stressed was urging coaches to be more involved in the personal lives of their athletes. Whether it’s prescription drug use or anxiety attacks, panelists believe coaches and training staffs should be more equipped and proactive when looking for signs of mental distress.
“When you have coaches who also understand the importance of a player’s mental and emotional health, that helps because when the students see the coaches saying, ‘OK, you need to get some extra assistance,’ they’re more likely to want to do it,” Brackette said. “There’s a need to raise awareness and talk about mental health the same way we do physical health.”"
"How These Black Millennial Women Are Dealing With Depression" by Ezinne Mgbeahuruike [BET]
"What caused you to realize you were depressed?
I started baking a lot. My roommates would yell at me because we had more bowls in the house and it then that I realized I might have been depressed. I used baking as a coping mechanism.
What was your depression like?
My depression was deep and dark. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Every step literally felt like it was too heavy. I was always looking down when I walked, my body was constantly slouched, my energy was completely off. I lost my appetite, I didn’t feel like working out, I truly felt miserable."
"25 Cheat Sheets For Taking Care Of Yourself Like A Damn Adult" by Anna Borges [Buzzfeed]
"How Self-Examination And Self-Awareness Can Change Your Year" by Arielle Gray [Blavity]
"Last year asked a lot of questions.
The beginning of 2016 had me entrapped in a maelstrom of depression, identity crises & loneliness. I was almost 25 years old with absolutely no clue what I was doing with my life nor did I have any idea of what I wanted to do with it. Fresh out of a breakup, I was trying to form this newborn identity without the presence of my ex while reconciling with the harsh truth that I simply did not possess the drive or motivation to do things for myself."
"What Bipolar Disorder Really Feels Like" by Sarah Klein [Huffington Post]
"Bipolar disorder is vastly different from the normal ups and downs of everyday life, but many have co-opted the term to refer to any old change in thoughts or feelings. The mood swings in someone with bipolar disorder, sometimes also called manic depression, can damage relationships and hurt job performance. It has been estimated that anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once.
Artist Ellen Forney detailed her diagnosis with bipolar disorder in the graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me. Forney previously shared her story with us, specifically detailing how her bipolar disorder has affected her creative work."
"Psychologists Explain The Benefits Of Baking For Other People" by Julie R. Thomson [Huffington Post]
"Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression,” associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, Donna Pincus, told HuffPost. “There’s a lot of literature for connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing. Whether it’s painting or it’s making music [or baking], there is a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.”
Are you a Black mental health professional? Do you do yoga, reiki, massage therapy, herbology, bootcamps, or crystal work? Alex is building a database of Black wellness professionals and practitioners. Be a pal and submit your info to be included in the directory.
Have a mental health-related article, video, event, or resource we should know about? Send it our way!
Happy Monday! Another chance to be less terrible and do the right thing. Or not. Either way, a The bad news is it's not 2020 yet. The good news is Viola Davis's reign of greatness continueth. She gave another mixtape-worthy speech while accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Fences last night. And Sir Mahershala Ali went home with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work on Moonlight. And after a wacky mix-up, Moonlight won Best Picture, just like the ancestors intended. Anyhow, on to the good shit.
THIS WEEK'S GOODNESS
A while back, Marc Lamont Hill facilitated a discussion on depression among African-Americans with Bassey Ikpi, director of the Siwe Project; Dr. Jeff Gardere, psychologist and author; and Terrie Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting.
"What virtual therapy means for mental health in the black community" by Kady Phillips [Blavity]
"It's easier to talk to your therapist when you're not in front of them
Similar to having hard conversations via text (because you can't see the person), this experience feels less personal and has been proven to encourage patients to reveal more. In fact, because of this, virtual therapy might just make more of a difference than actual in-person therapy."
"How To Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed By Your Newsfeed" [Ann Douglas]
"Allow yourself to feel all the feelings
Allow painful emotions to flow through you as opposed to avoiding them (which suppresses positive as well as negative emotions, leaving you feeling emotionally "flat") or dwelling on them (which ties up cognitive resources, leaving you less equipped to solve problems or connect with other people). Remind yourself that feelings come and feelings go -- and you are not your feelings."
"My Worries About Having a Baby as a Woman With Bipolar Disorder" by Crystal Lancaster [The Mighty]
"But I’m so scared. I have been on these pills since I was a teenager. I’m scared to death to simply stop taking them. Will I be able to handle it? Could I cope? I mean, I’ve had a major relapse even when I was on the pills! What happens when I’m off them entirely? It…I don’t know. It seems so unfair. I feel like bipolar disorder makes my life abnormal enough as it is. Is it so wrong to have one thing in my life that is “normal?” So I can at least pretend to be “normal” again? Why should I have to deny myself of one of the things I want most in this world because I developed a mental illness?"
"On Black Masculinity, The Mental Well-Being Of Black Men And 'Fences'" by L. Malik Anderson [Blavity]
"My father often told me as a teenager sometimes I held myself back, like I was in a war with myself. Like Washington’s character I would stare into the void of darkness and got nowhere, never openly facing my anxiety and depression.
I never asked for therapy because of the stigma around mental health. Instead, I spent all my time in church wrestling away my personal demons. I sat with the complacency of dealing with emotions internally. "
"Steps to Turn Off the Nagging Self-Doubt in Your Head" by Elizabeth Bernstein [Wall Street Journal]
"Create an Imaginary Friend
We’re often nicer to our friends than we are to ourselves. If a friend told you he was telling himself the same irrational things you tell yourself, you’d have no trouble telling him he is wrong.
Imagine that you have a friend who is exactly like you in every respect. Give him a name. Then pretend he is telling himself the same destructive thoughts you tell yourself. How would you refute him? What evidence would you give that his thinking is wrong? Listen carefully to what you are telling your friend. Write it down. Take this to heart."
"Thank You to 'This Is Us' for Portraying a Character With Anxiety" by Monica Drake [The Mighty]
"In Tuesday’s episode, Randall talked about how his adoptive father, Jack, kept his anxiety in check. “Whenever I’d get too in my head, he’d take his hands and put them on both sides of my head and he’d just say, ‘There you go, breathe with me.’ And we’d just sit there, breathing together until it passed.”
He said, “It’s always been like that. Putting the pressure on myself ever since I was a little boy.”"
Do you have a mental health-related story, article, event, or resource we should know about? Send it our way!
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