Chicago native Chance The Rapper recently had an open discussion, in regards to his mental health on Taraji P. Henson’s Facebook Watch series, “Peace of Mind with Taraji”!
Mental Health is not always an easy topic for men to tackle in the Black community, especially since many have been conditioned to suffer in silence. Black boys, teens and men are taught to ‘toughen up’ instead of expressing how they feel.
During the show, Taraji was joined by her co-host Tracie Jade, the executive director of Henson’s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. Taraji spoke to Chance and two other men from the community, college student Shemar Magee Psychotherapist Dr. Rwenshaun Miller, about mental health challenges facing black men.
In our current climate, public figures have been well received as they reveal their personal stories of struggle. Jade expressed it was great to see an emergence of courageous celebrities openly discussing their mental health, giving themselves space to be vulnerable and to heal. The sense is it’s time to normalize humanity, recognize people are not machines and support anyone working through that, which weighs them down emotionally or takes a toll on them.
Appearing virtually, Chance shared a bit of what his journey with mental health has been, reports Black Enterprise. Trying to process seeing his friend as well as other people killed in front of him at only 19 years of age in the windy city. He recognized young that although life moves on, the trauma from witnessing these incidents does not. He also noted there are many moments that uniquely challenge the existence of black males.
Chance was an open book as he shared that he and his wife sought counseling in the past, to work through some of their marital issues and still occasionally check in with their counselor as needed. When asked if he himself had gone to therapy, he was very candid and though he had not yet seen a therapist for help with his own journey, he was very open to it.
Trust is a big struggle in the community, the ‘Chain Smoker’ performer expressed, and the unknown of telling the darkest parts to a stranger can feel overwhelming since he has “been through a lot of stuff”.
During the interview, Taraji mentioned the famous record producer had donated $1 million through his non-profit Socialworks, to mental health services in 2019.
When asked why, Chance explained he was inspired because an old friend of his was in dire need of support with his mental health. How he struggled to find services in his area that could assist him, within his financial bracket.
Chance, with some help from his network at Socialworks, found all the available services in the state of Illinois. He created an app to help his friend and anyone else in need of the services access the much needed help. It’s free to utilize.
Chance noted more awareness is coming along in the community to recognize that overall health isn’t just physical, but mental as well. Cohost Jade acknowledged the space for black men to be vulnerable is beginning to open up but there is a long way to go. Chance was in agreement and in the meantime, he shared he believes in leading by example and providing an open door for dialogue within his own circle to inspire others to do the same.