March 7, 2017 - Following recent news that reveals a quarter of men self-harm in order to cope with depression, UK grime artist Stormzy’s live television discussion on his experiences with depression has been highly praised by a mental health specialist.
Stormzy, (Michael Omari), opened up about his battle with depression through a recent broadcast interview. In the interview, Stormzy reveals how he wasn’t fully able to express his thoughts until the creation of his first album Gang Signs and Prayer. He says, “OK….. It’s something that I went through, my friends know I went through it, my family knows I went through it, but the world doesn’t need to know that. What convinced me to talk about it was the fact that if there’s anyone out there going through it, I think to see that I went through it would help.”
Founder and Managing Director Samantha Francis of mental health organization Find a Balance believes that the young musician’s revelation is hugely important in highlighting the stigmatization of mental health, particularly for young black males in Britain. She says, “Stormzy speaking about his own experience with mental health will encourage other young men to reach out for help, particularly as his fan base is predominantly young people who are most at risk of the condition. One of the reasons for this is the fact that they might find it difficult to express their emotions to others.”
According to mentalhealth.org, those from black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, with black men 17 times more likely than their white counter parts to be diagnosed with a serious mental health condition and six times more likely to be an inpatient in a mental health unit. Francis stresses that it is important to raise awareness about the symptoms of depression. “You find that men tend to isolate themselves from others once suffering with depression”, she comments, “for example not leaving their home, withdrawing from social media sites, ignoring phone calls and using drugs such as cannabis, which can trigger psychosis and become more severe amongst African & Caribbean men.”
Young black males are more at risk of suffering from mental health conditions as the stigma around it means not having the confidence to discuss their problems and feeling antisocial in their communities. As a result, these young men often disregard the seriousness of this mental breakdown, and in the most serious cases, can take their own lives.
When asked whether there are enough resources in the country that supports mental health awareness, Samantha Francis thought that they were not enough ‘bespoke programs to completely address individuals’ needs’.
Notes to Editors
About Find A Balance
Find A Balance is a mental health service provider specializing in working with NEET (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) 8-17 & 18-year-olds within Black and Minorities Ethnic (BAME) communities, offering bespoke, intense and early intervention mental health programmes. This includes, and isn’t limited to, employability programmes, family consultations, and ongoing support into and beyond securing employment, education & training.