Mental health is typically a topic people shy away from. It’s seen as taboo, scary, shameful, and showing personal weakness. This stigma makes it difficult for people to speak about their own mental health issues and struggles and can lead to not finding help when it’s most needed.
In recent years, celebrities have tried to help reduce that stigma by talking about their own mental health issues. Demi Lovato has struggled with bipolar disorder and created a documentary about people living with mental illness, Selena Gomez addressed her battle with depression and anxiety in an awards show acceptance speech, and rapper Kid Cudi spoke about entering treatment for mental health issues.
During the recent MTV Video Music Awards, musician Kesha introduced Logic, a 27-year-old rapper with a song entitled “1-800-273-8255”, named after the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Kesha, who has experienced feelings of depression and anxiety herself, was brought to tears during her introductory speech saying, “It has been said that if you knew who walked beside you, you would never experience fear and doubt again. The truth is piercing and the truth is what matters. The truth is none of us are alone.”
Surrounding Logic during his performance were suicide attempt survivors wearing t-shirts with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s phone number and the message “YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” Logic’s song is a story of hope and describes the journey of a young man who encounters bullying, difficulties understanding his sexual identity and other issues.
Watch the performance here:
The VMA crowd gave a standing ovation to the empowering message and after the performance that was viewed by millions, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline said that calls increased by 50% in volume from people who were struggling with suicidal thoughts. The release of Logic’s single had also increased the numbers to the line by 30% after it was released. There have been many tragic events that happened over this year that have portrayed suicide from the band Soundgarden’s lead vocalist Chris Cornell’s suicide in May, Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington’s suicide in July, and the release of the TV series ’13 Reasons Why’. The route Logic takes in his new song is a hopeful one.
“Logic is generating calls with a song about getting help and finding hope,” John Draper the Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline told The New York Daily News. “It’s not focusing on tragedy or suicide. In fact, he’s starting conversations about suicide prevention, as opposed to suicide.”
There’s still a lot of stigma around suicide, mental health issues and finding help. This performance on such a public scale focusing on suicide prevention is a great step into reducing that stigma. You can help to end the stigma around mental health by getting help if you are struggling with any issues, talking openly about mental health with others and practicing empathy about the struggles people are experiencing.
If you know a child or young adult struggling with depression or experiencing thoughts of self-harm, contact our psychiatric hospitals at (913) 890-7468, or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) immediately.