In the news: The rise of mental health in hip-hop lyrics

Hip-hop is having a watershed moment for mental health. In the last two years, some of the biggest rappers have peeled back the curtain on their personal lives to shine a light on their struggles with mental health issues.

Take Kanye West’s album “The Life of Pablo”, where he mentions both seeing a psychiatrist and taking Lexapro, an antidepressant used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Or Kid Cudi, who publicly announced he’d checked into rehab for depression and suicidal urges, writing that “anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it.” Even rap veteran Jay-Z has advocated the importance of therapy in recent months.

In the midst of hip-hop’s dive into mental health awareness, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many mainstream artists have also opened up about practicing meditation. Big Sean, Vic Mensa, Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole, and Drake, to name a few, have credited meditation as impacting areas of their lives and creative output. And, of course, Def Jam Recordings label founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons attribute much of their success to meditation.

“[T]he person I am was shaped by the experience of the years of meditation,” says Rubin, who produced albums for everyone from Beastie Boys to Kanye. “I feel like I can see deeply into things in a way that many of the people around me don’t, or can’t.”

“Meditation is a guaranteed way to not only dip into, but stay connected with, your creative spirit,” echoes Simmons. “People have this misconception that meditation will chill you out and make you soft, but the opposite is true. I meditate every morning when I wake up and almost the second my session is over I’m eager to tackle whatever is on my plate for that day.”

But perhaps the rap game’s biggest meditation advocate is one that currently holds the title as Greatest Rapper Alive: Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick has plugged meditation on four (!) of his tracks. Take these lyrics from “untitled 03 | 05.28.2013”:

Meditation is a must, it don’t hurt if you try
See you thinking too much, plus you too full of yourself
Worried about your career, you ever think of your health?

In a 2016 interview for GQ Style, Kendrick elaborates on his meditation routine:

“I have to have at least 30 minutes to myself,” he says. “If it’s not on the daily, every other day, to just sit back, close my eyes, and absorb what’s going on. You know, the space that I’m in [and] how I’m feeling at the moment.”

Kendrick cites the frenetic busyness of his career as a motivator to practice being more present. “When you in music—and everybody knows this—the years are always cut in half, because you always have something to do,” he says. “It just goes and then you miss out on your moment because you’re so in the moment you didn’t know the moment was going on.”

After realizing that music was consuming his thoughts and attention, Kendrick turned to meditation for time and space away from his work: “That 30 minutes helps me to totally zone out and not think about my next lyric. You know? It gives me a re-start, a jump start, a refresh. It lets me know why I’m here, doing what I’m doing.”

Competition is ingrained in hip-hop’s DNA; there’s tremendous pressure to claim the “best rapper alive” throne by breaking the mold on verbal gymnastics, pushing artistic boundaries, and resonating with audiences through culture and emotion. Slap on deadlines from record labels, plus scrutiny and sensationalism from the public eye—it’s a paralyzing weight for anyone to endure.

“There’s a great deal of bullshit that people think about when they make music, things that don’t matter,” Rubin says. “[Meditation] kind of wipes that away, and you focus on the real job at hand, as opposed to thinking about what the management wants, or what the record company’s saying, or what somebody at a radio station might think.”

While the dusty notion that hip-hop is all about cars, money, and clothes may still ring true for certain acts, there’s no denying that the genre has evolved. By unmasking both the stigmas attached to mental health issues and stereotypes about meditation, the rap game is well set up for a healthier and happier road ahead—for artists and fans alike.

Link to full blog here: https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/10/13/mental-health-hip-hop/

Nottingham’s 25th Mental Health Awareness Weeks

Mental health awareness week is so important because despite 1 in 4 of us experiencing problems, the topic is still surrounded by a lot of stigma and discrimination. Just as we all strive for good physical health, our mental health and wellbeing should be equally important.

So many people in the UK are struggling without help and it’s only through raising awareness, education and communication that we can challenge stigma and start to have these conversations. It’s so important to talk.

As a society it’s so important to challenge the stigma and discrimination because it doesn’t matter how old you are, your gender or even your job: mental health doesn’t discriminate, anyone can be effected. With 1 in 4 of us being effected at some time in our life, it’s important to consider the wider impact on friends and family, because actually that would mean most of society will be effected in some way.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

–          Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry

–          Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse

–          Family history of mental health problems

Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us. Everyone is different. You may bounce back from a setback while someone else may feel weighed down by it for a long time. Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life.

How can we look after our mental health? (PRE-vention)

–          Connect with people: meet a friend for a coffee or speak to someone new

–          Put time aside to ask how the people close to they really are

–          Be active! Join a new club (this would be active and connection too)

–          If you’re at work perhaps walk to someone’s desk, instead of calling

–          Noting: clear away clutter, take note of how the people around you are feeling, visit a new place for lunch

–          Learn a new skill or even something small like a new word

–          Volunteer: helpings others is rewarding

If you would like support and information on any issues surrounding mental health, please contact the team at info@harmless.org.uk. 

World Mental Health Day 2017

Mental health in the workplace

During our adult lives, a large proportion of our time is spent at work. Our experience in the workplace is one of the factors determining our overall wellbeing. Employers and managers who put in place workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees who have mental disorders see gains not only in the health of their employees but also in their productivity at work.

Mental health in the workplace is the theme of World Mental Health Day 2017.
World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health.

1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem this year, yet many people still don’t believe problems are likely to affect them, or anyone they know. They also don’t see how the way they think and act can affect others. But mental health problems can affect any of us – directly or otherwise. And without support from those around us, we can lose what we care about most. Having a colleague in your corner can make all the difference.

Without support from others, people with mental health problems can lose what they care about most. It’s a time when you need your friends, family and colleagues more than ever. So, if you notice someone you work with is acting differently, step in. You don’t have to be an expert to be supportive. It can be as simple as checking in with someone, asking them how they’re doing, sharing a cuppa, listening and not judging, just being there and being yourself.

Today we are celebrating World Mental Health Day for the 25th time! World Federation for Mental Health founded the awareness day in 1992 and since then people all over the world are holding events, making announcements and celebrating #WorldMentalHealthDay

Let’s all pledge to do something today to celebration #WorldMentalHealthDay ! The smallest things can make the biggest difference.

What does mental health mean to you?

During 2017 mental health awareness week,  we took to the streets of Nottingham to ask exactly that. It was a great day meeting lots of wonderful people and being able to openly discuss topics surrounding #mentalhealth.

Take a look at our video and see what you think.

Thank you to the wonderful NTU students for their help, you both were brilliant.

Are you Surviving or Thriving? #MHAW17

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week #MHAW17, Harmless Training Team have delivered a number of sessions, including

  • Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training in Nottingham
  • Level 3 Advanced Working with Self Harm in Derbyshire
  • Presenting at Mental Health Today Conference in Cardiff
  • Mental Health First Aid Lite (MHFALite) in Nottingham
  • A workshop on Self Care and Resilience in Nottingham
  • Training for Managers – Mental Health in Nottingham

Wow! That was a busy, but imperative week.

The workshop for Managers took place on 11th May. Due to the stigma surrounding mental health, what better way to try and tackle this, than providing training on how to support staff in the workplace, experiencing mental ill health.

Within the workshop we discussed a range of things, however some key points we covered were;

  • What are some signs and symptoms of depression in the workplace
  • How can we reduce stigma in the workplace and in wider society
  • The benefits of supporting staff in the workplace

There were lots of in depth discussions about what is currently being done in various settings around the city, to support staff in the workplace, experiencing low mental wellbeing or mental health conditions.

But what about our Managers? What about their wellbeing? Are they surviving or thriving? They look out for their staff on a day to day basis, what are they doing to ensure they are looking after their own wellbeing?

As it is #MHAW17, I decided I would ask them to write up and share some of their self care activities that they have upcoming. Activities that ensures they are looking after and supporting themselves, just as they support others in the workplace.

An enormous thank you to the Lush Nottingham team

Thank you to the NOTTS Lush team for their wonderful workshop that kick started our Mental Health Awareness Week of events. The event was full and the feedback sung their praises.

To coincide with this years Mental Health Foundation’s theme of ‘surviving to thriving’ we decided to carefully construct a week of events focussing on #SelfCare. With creativity during the event perfect to nurture our emotional wellbeing, and then with being able to take the bath products home made the work shop perfect for #SelfCare.

The group made strawberry swirl bath products and were treated to hand and arm massages, a very relaxing day!!

“Kneading the ‘dough’ for the Lush product was super therapeutic and I also enjoyed swirling the pink and white dough together to make the classic cone shape for the Comforter Bubble Bar – taking it home was a bonus as it has filled my house and car with its wonderful aroma! Many thanks to Lush and the Harmless team”

Here are some photos of the event:

Thank you again to the lovely team and we hope to work with you again in the future.

Reach out to a friend

At Harmless we are asking everyone to reach out to a friend this #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, because it really is the small things that make the biggest difference. Imagine what we could achieve if we all came together? Join us in raising awareness and challenging stigma and discrimination.

http://www.harmless.org.uk/store/index.php…

#HarmToHope #Harmless

 

WORKSHOPS… available during Mental Health Awareness Week

Internet Safety & Emotional Wellbeing

10am – 11am

Wednesday 10th May 2017

Would you like to know more about Internet use, how to identify risk factors and protect you, or your loved ones from harm?

Join us Wednesday 10th May BOOK NOW: admin@harmless.org.uk

Self care & Resilience

1pm – 2pm

Wednesday 10th May 2017

 

Do you find yourself feeling run down?  Is your work/life balance a nightmare? Self care is a necessity not a luxury! Join us at looking at how you can give back to yourself. 

Join us Wednesday 10th May BOOK NOW: admin@harmless.org.uk

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2017: Why is it so important and how you can get involved?

Mental health awareness week is so important because despite 1 in 4 of us experiencing problems, the topic is still surrounded by a lot of stigma and discrimination. Just as we all strive for good physical health, our mental health and wellbeing should be equally important.

So many people in the UK are struggling without help and it’s only through raising awareness, education and communication that we can challenge stigma and start to have these conversations. It’s so important to talk.

As a society it’s so important to challenge the stigma and discrimination because it doesn’t matter how old you are, your gender or even your job: mental health doesn’t discriminate, anyone can be effected. With 1 in 4 of us being effected at some time in our life, it’s important to consider the wider impact on friends and family, because actually that would mean most of society will be effected in some way.

How to get involved

At Harmless we have carefully constructed a week of events (8-14th May) to coincide with this years Mental Health Awareness Week & it’s theme: surviving to thriving. We will be having our own focus on self-care and have teamed up with LUSH, Hotpod yoga, Super+Super and Cafe Sobar.

We are also holding an open day for anyone to pop in for a coffee, meet the team and find out about what we do. During the day we are also putting on two workshops around emotional health and wellbeing, resilience and internet safety.

Throughout the week we will be challenging stigma and discrimination in a positive and productive way, all whilst raising life saving funds for Harmless services.

If you’d like to get involved you can go onto our website, Facebook or Twitter pages for more info. Or email chloe@harmless.org.uk