MSKF mag.



By: Jessica Guminney

Mental health has been a hot topic of discussion for the past few years now.  People are being diagnosed with certain disorders more frequently and a lot more people are being put on anti-depressants.  There is a certain stigma around men being depressed, having anxiety, and even openly talking about their feelings, and there is an even bigger stigma if you are a black man in hip-hop culture.  Kanye West is known for being out of the box, so when word got out in November that he was being hospitalized everyone had mixed feelings.  None of us can relate to the amount of pressure Kanye must be under.  First off, he is married to Kim freaking Kardashian, he is involved with art, music and he is a designer.  He is under constant pressure and stress.  Articles came out saying Kanye was admitted for stress and exhaustion, which would make complete sense.

Before his hospitalization, he was going on crazy rants while on tour, and his wife had just been held up at gun point, he could have lost her for good.  Kanye also lost his mother in 2007.  In the popular song “Clique” that also features rappers Big Sean and Jay-Z, West states, as he has in past interviews and public discussions, that he has suffered from depression and even considered suicide at one point.  I think it was a good idea for him to cancel the rest of his tour.  He needs to be with his family, relax and talk to someone.  You do not have to be in crisis to talk to someone, it does not mean you are crazy at all.

Another man in the hip-hop community who has recently came out about his mental health is Kid Cudi.  He checked himself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges back in October.  He admits to experiencing anxiety and depression throughout his whole life.  He had to pretend to be happy when in reality he was living a nightmare.  He got a lot of support from other artists, which was uplifting.  You never know who you will inspire until you share your story.

In fashion, there is one man who stands out to me and he is Alexander McQueen.  The fashion world is often portrayed as a place of glitz and glamour, but in this man's case he was hiding a secret.  Per his psychiatrist, he had been suffering from anxiety and depression for at least three years.  He ended up killing himself by taking a mixture of cocaine, sleeping pills and tranquilizers. His workload was believed to have had a direct effect on his mental state.  Fashion used to run on a six-month cycle, and now it’s been chopped in half.  If you ask a designer at a major fashion house, it’s more like a three-week cycle.  Of course, designers are stressed out and turning to drugs or alcohol, and their mental health is questionable.

It is clearly not healthy to be that stressed out.  Fields like architecture and engineering are ranked the highest in jobs linked to suicide.  More than a quarter of architecture students in the UK have reported mental health issues related to their studies, with workload and debt among the leading causes, according to a new survey. Many of the respondents who had suffered from mental health issues said that being expected to work long hours had contributed to the problem. The survey found that almost one in three students were working through the night on a regular basis as part of their studies.  If you are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis it can be dangerous to your body.  Your body needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night.

In the psychology world, there is something called the DSM-5 which is basically the holy grail when diagnosing someone.  To be able to properly diagnose someone they need to display a certain number of symptoms and for a certain amount of time.  To be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder the person must experience excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. The worry must occur often for at least 6 months and is clearly excessive.  They also need to display 3 of the following symptoms: edginess or restlessness, tiring easily, impaired concentration, irritability, increased muscle aches, and difficulty sleeping.

There just needs to stop being such a stigma around this topic.  Everyone is human and everyone deserves the right to express themselves and to get the proper treatment.  Anxiety and depression is real and everyone experiences it at certain times in their life, Black, White, Asian, Latino, it doesn't matter.  Everyone should be required to take a psychology course in high school and in college, you learn a lot and you learn to accept other's without judging them, even with their flaws.  No one should look down on a person because they tell you they have or had depression before.  

Malik Fequiere