World Mental Health Day
Today, October 10th, we celebrate World Mental Health Day. While some people are comfortable sharing their struggles and advocating for different solutions to help those who battle with it, it’s still such a taboo subject, especially for Black Women. Strong is the first word that comes to mind when black women are described. Black women feel pressured to act like superwomen. Strong. Self-sacrificing. Because we’re viewed as strong all the time, most of us don’t prioritize our mental health.
Many black women still believe that taking care of our mental health is considered weak, and we don’t have time to be weak. Recently, celebrities such as Taraji P. Henson, Naomi Osaka, Kehlani, etc., have spoken about their mental health struggles. These women prove that you are not alone; #WeAllStruggle.
“I am here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this because I also suffer from depression and anxiety. If you’re a human living in today’s world, I don’t know how you’re not suffering in any way.”Taraji P. Henson
“I always try to push myself to speak up for what I believe to be right, but that often comes at a cost of great anxiety. I feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or face of athlete mental health as it’s still so new to me, and I don’t have all the answers. I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s O.K. to not be O.K., and it’s O.K. to talk about it. There are people who can help, and there is usually light at the end of any tunnel.”Naomi Osaka
“I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”Mariah Carey
“We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day, we’re human, too. We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”Simone Biles
“I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense … Low self-esteem might be rooted in childhood feelings of inferiority. It could relate to failing to meet impossibly high standards. And of course there are always the societal issues of racism and sexism. Put it all together and depression is a tenacious and scary condition. Thankfully, I found my way through it.”Janet Jackson
“It took me four years after my diagnosis to start taking medication. I thought, “I’m fine.” And in my work, in my one-woman shows, in particular, I used the mania to my advantage. Oh! That electricity onstage! But afterward, offstage, I just got tired. I got so tired. The crying, and I didn’t know why. It was a very dark place.”Jenifer Lewis
“[Suicide] is something that so many young people are dealing with. And so many young people slip under the rug. Please don’t try it. Don’t do it. It wasn’t a first-time thing, and that’s not okay…for anyone. Not for the people around you, not for the people that love you, not the people that care about you.”Kehlani
“I think subconsciously, I was like, ‘Oh I can’t kill myself now. All these people, somebody’s going to come behind me,’ because people were to die hard and strong and emotional about this album. So I believe in my subconscious, I was like ‘I can’t [die] now. I’ve just got to thug this out. I’ve got to push through.’ And so I just kept pushing and pushing, no matter how hard it got, no matter how ugly it got.”Mary J Blige
Ladies, just as Naomi said, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay not to be superwoman all of the time and not be strong all the time. It’s okay to put your mental health first. We all struggle, regardless of age, social status, and more, but we have each other’s back to keep struttin’ forward. Use World Mental Health Day to get your mental health together.
Written by Le’Chay Armstrong