George M Johnson

Mental Health Monday #30: Why Therapy Is Gangsta, Being Black & Depressed, Meditation 101, etc.

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Good day, best friend. Welcome to another round of Mental Health Monday, your weekly dose of stories, resources, and motivation for your everyday life. On our last feature, we introduced you to lupus warrior and host of #LupusChat Tiffany Peterson, who shared why anime is the shit, how her advocacy work impacts her mental and emotional wellness, and a few things she does to get some joy. Check it out here.


Shelah Marie, founder of Curly, Curvy, Conscious, shared a few useful tips for those new to meditation who may need some help finding their quiet place, centering themselves, and getting their woosah on.

"Black, young and suicidal: An epidemic we must continue to bring to light" by George M. Johnson [The Grio]

Let’s face it, Black folk are killing themselves and the rate of suicides are only increasing across many demographics.

According to the CDC, suicide is now the third-leading cause of death for Blacks ages 15-24. Although white people have the highest suicide rates in the country, the numbers around Black boys age 5-11 have doubled over the past 20 years. Researchers using this data have concluded that part of this rise is due to Black children “likely to be exposed to violence and traumatic stress, and that black children are more likely to experience an early onset of puberty, which can increase the risk of depression and impulsive aggression.”

"Therapy Is Gangsta: Hip-Hop’s Views on Mental Health Are Evolving" by Sheldon Pearce [Pitchfork] 

In recent years, more rappers have been vocal about seeing therapists. Logic is at the forefront of rap’s battle for mental health; he first admitted to seeing a therapist in 2014 and he still goes. His recent hit “1-800-273-8255” was released in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and he performed the song at the VMAs. Last year, Run-D.M.C.’s Darryl McDaniels put out a book called Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide, in which he admitted to first seeking professional help in 2004 and pushed for more black men to seek treatment. “When I went to therapy I realized … that therapy isn’t ‘soft,’” he said. “My saying is, ‘Therapy is gangsta.’ It actually empowered me.”

"I am not OK: stoicism, mental health, and the black community" by Britt Julious [WBEZ Chicago]

I had a friend in school who wrote about her depression, and I berated her online. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t get over it. In my mind, this was not sickness. And therapy, while good in theory, seemed unnecessary for someone so young, smart, and wealthy living in an affluent suburb. “Why can’t she just push through this?” I used to ask. And as she continued to talk about her pain, I continued to feel angry. “This is not a problem,” I thought. I told a relative about the girl, and they said she was just acting dramatic. And in all of the things that signaled who was and was not a weak person, “acting dramatic,” was one of the worst. There was depression and there was “depression,” and I learned to only recognize the latter.

Phillip J. Roundtree, MSW, MS, mental health advocate and host of #YouGoodMan?, a podcast focusing on men's wellness, shared his experience navigating life as depressed Black man, and how he overcomes negative feelings, a lack of motivation, and bounces back from bad days and crappy moments. 

"Treating Insomnia Can Ease Anxiety, Depression Study Says" by Shantell E. Jamison [EBONY]

The researchers found that those who had the CBT sleep treatment reduced their insomnia significantly. They also showed small but sustained reductions in paranoia and hallucinatory experiences.

The CBT led to improvements in depression, anxiety, nightmares, psychological well-being, and daytime work and home functioning, the researchers said.

"Students weigh in on mental health in the black community" by Taylor Y Matthews [University Daily Kansan]

One student said mental health in the black community isn’t "popular" to discuss. Another said the topic takes her out of her comfort zone. A third mentioned that black students aren’t comfortable talking about their personal feelings with someone who isn’t black.

Their answers made apparent why the National Panhellenic Council, which represents the nine historically African-American Greek lettered fraternities and sororities on campus, sponsored the forum "Mental Health in the Black Community,” at the Kansas Union on Sept. 14th.

Alex's year-long multimedia movement to encourage mental and emotional wellness among Black and brown folks, GetSomeJoy, is finally live. On the horizon: engaging events, a video storytelling series, Mental Health First Aid Trainings, an online wellness hub with a directory of Black and brown mental health professionals and wellness coaches/practitioners, and programs, agencies, and non-profits offering other vital support, and much more.

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Learn more and answer the question, "How do you get some joy?" here.

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Catch up on all of our super phat Extraordinary Recaps for HBO's "Insecure"

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Remember that time we rounded up a bunch of winners and did a dope recap for each episode of the second season of HBO's Insecure? That was fun. In case you missed it, as watch for the first time or rewatch to relive all of Kelli's best moments, here are eight hella awesome walks down Memory Lane past Issa's awkwardness, through Molly's messiness, around Lawrence's aimlessness, alongside everybody's poor choices. It's a party. 

Be sure to listen and subscribe via iTunes, SoundCloud, MixCloud, Stitcher, or wherever you receive your podcast blessings. And if you want to help us continue being Excellently Black via brand new biweekly flavor in your ear, mosey on over to our Patreon page to keep the party going. You da bess.


An Extraordinary Recap: Insecure - "Hella Great (Season Two Premiere)" (Feat. Tonja Renee Stidhum)

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In our inaugural episode of An Extraordinary Recap, we're joined by writer/director, "Wing Chick" series creator, and Cinema Bun Podcast co-host Tonja Renee Stidhum to dissect the season premiere of HBO's "Insecure". Best Buy shirts sold separately.

More Tonja: Cinema Bun Podcast | Wing Chick Series | Instagram | Twitter

An Extraordinary Recap: Insecure - "Hella Questions" (Feat. Monique Judge of The Root)

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In latest installment of An Extraordinary Recap, we're joined by your favorite writer's favorite writer, the illustrious Monique Judge of The Root to discuss the ongoings of the second episode of the second season of HBO's Insecure, "Hella Questions." 

More Monique: Twitter | Web | The Root

An Extraordinary Recap: Insecure - "Hella Open" (Feat. Evette Dionne Brown of Bitch Media)

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In latest installment of An Extraordinary Recap, we're joined by White Feminism's archenemy Evette Dionne Brown of Bitch Media to discuss the ongoings of the third episode of the second season of HBO's Insecure, "Hella Open." 

More Evette: Bitch Media | Twitter | Instagram

An Extraordinary Recap: Insecure - "Hella LA" (Feat. Panama Jackson of Very Smart Brothas & Law Ware)

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In the latest installment of An Extraordinary Recap, we're joined by our beige brother from another Panama Jackson of Very Smart Brothas and writing ass writer Law Ware to discuss the latest and greatest in of the fourth episode of season two of HBO's Insecure, "Hella LA." 

More Panama: Twitter | Very Smart Brothas

More Law: Twitter | Writings at Very Smart Brothas | Writings at HuffPo

An Extraordinary Recap: Insecure - "Hella Shook" (Feat. George M. Johnson)

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In the latest installment of An Extraordinary Recap, we're joined by Broadway Black Managing Editor and chicken fried scribe George M. Johnson to discuss the latest and greatest in of the fifth episode of the second season of HBO's Insecure, "Hella Shook."

More George: Black Gifted and Whole | Twitter | Black Gifted and Whole Facebook | HIV Equal | The Body

An Extraordinary Recap: Insecure - "Hella Blows" (Feat. Dr. Joy Harden Bradford of Therapy For Black Girls)

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With so much to unpack in this episode, we felt it was only right to bring in a therapist. So thankfully, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford of Therapy For Black Girls was up for the job. We dissect Molly's comfortability with the uncharted territory of an open relationship, Issa's "hocation" possibly meeting its abrupt end, and did Lawrence just realize he's an Affirmative Action hire? Like we said, it's a lot. So enjoy our recap.

More Dr. Joy: Therapy For Black Girls | Twitter 

An Extraordinary Recap: Insecure - "Hella Disrespectful" (Feat. The Brown Liquor Report)

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With all the chaos and turmoil in this episode, you might need a drink or a seven. But since we're fresh out of bartenders, we brought along our extended fam DJ BlackShah, The Count, Jas Hands, and B. Fierce, better known as The Brown Liquor Report, to help us drink away the pain. So pour yourself something to drink and partake in our latest "Insecure" recap.

More The Brown Liquor Report: Web | SoundCloud | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

An Extraordinary Recap: Insecure - "Hella Perspective" (Feat. Dr. Joy Harden Bradford of Therapy For Black Girls & Law Ware)

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The season finale hath finally arrived. And to celebrate this momentous occasion, we brought back fan favorites Dr. Joy Harden Bradford of Therapy for Black Girls and philosopher/writing ass writer Law Ware for the ride. So enjoy as Law breaks down the anatomy of a sidekick, Jay fails miserably at recognizing closure, Dr. Joy considers exes imaginary friends, and Alex is a proponent of gratuitous sex.

More Dr. Joy: Therapy For Black Girls | Twitter 

More Law: Twitter | Writings at Very Smart Brothas | Writings at HuffPo