CityinThree

With Kim Kardashian West making her nonchalant return to social media earlier this year and Kanye West launching Yeezy Season...

With Kim Kardashian West making her nonchalant return to social media earlier this year and Kanye West launching Yeezy Season 5 this month, it’s almost as though everyone has forgotten the 2016 events surrounding the Kardashian-West clan.  From Mrs. West’s October robbery leaving her silent in the media for months to follow, to Mr. West announcing his support for Donald Trump and calling out Jay-Z and Beyoncé, it appears that KimYe have been through a lot recently. This has stirred a great amount of speculation with some claiming that Kim’s robbery was staged to others calling Kanye crazy and whitewashed. However, what is interesting is that no one seems to be taking Kim and Kanye’s mental health seriously.

With Kim, there were many people who were able to sympathize with the media mogul, stating that what happened to her was indeed traumatic and that her taking time off was indeed beneficial to her mental health. When it came to Kanye, on the other hand, it was as though the world couldn’t face the fact that a black man was actually suffering from mental health issues. Some deemed him a coon, while others claimed that his marriage to a white woman had caused him to become white-washed and lose his mind. That said, few took the time to stop and think that maybe after Kim’s traumatic experience and on the brink of his mother’s death anniversary, Kanye may have simply let out a cry for help. Regardless of his political views, regardless of whether or not he supported Trump, regardless of if he was calling out the Queen Bey, herself; at that point in time, Kanye West became a black man who needed support from the black community. Unfortunately, for Kanye, this was not easily found.

As a matter of fact, here in Canada, this past January 25th, 2017 marked the sixth annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day dedicated to raising mental health awareness. The premise of this day is that for every time the #BellLetsTalk hashtag is used, Bell would donate 5 cents to mental health research. This event does a good job of getting people to talk about mental health but it tends to generalize those suffering from mental health into one big group, not identifying the issues different marginalized groups face. According to a study conducted by Ward, Wiltshire, Detry, and Brown in 2013,

"African Americans hold beliefs related to stigma, psychological openness, and help-seeking, which in turn affects their coping behaviours. Generally speaking, the participants in this study were not very open to acknowledging psychological problems, but they were somewhat open to seek mental health services."

So why don't organizations such as Bell Let’s Talk talk about the fact that many African Americans are only somewhat open to seeking mental health services? In fact, upon visiting the Bell Let’s Talk website and taking a look at their team, only one out of the eight representatives was a visible ethnic minority. To add on to this, Bell was recently criticized for firing a young woman who needed to take time off in order to better her mental health which is explained in an article entitled Let’s Talk About How Bell Fired Me After I Asked For Mental-Health Leave”. Maria McLean describes how she was fired from a Bell radio station for asking to take a leave of absence in order to cope with her depression and anxiety. When presented with these facts, it seems Bell Let’s Talk Day is simply a day to bring awareness to those who have lived perfect lives but fought private battles, not those who are already oppressed by the system and live far from perfect lives.

Returning to the subject of Kanye and his battle with mental health issues, West released a song entitled “I Feel Like That”, in which he asks a series of questions similar to those asked in The Hopkins Symptoms ChecklistUsing the chorus where he repeatedly states "I feel like that", it seems as though Kanye confirms he feels all these symptoms leading his audience to believe he is openly admitting to suffering from mental health issues. The irony of this is that West never officially released the song or video, it just sat on Vimeo for a good year before it gained widespread notoriety which led to the song's removal from the site. With this song having been removed from the internet around the same time Kanye’s mental health began to deteriorate followed by Kanye going into a form of hiding upon being released from the hospital, it becomes evident that mental health is still very stigmatized in the black community.