In a powerful statement on Facebook late Tuesday evening, Kid Cudi announced that he is checking into a rehabilitation facility “for depression and suicidal urges.”
“I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me,” Cudi wrote.
Cudi, 32, has been a familiar face on the rap scene for more than a decade, since he moved to New York City from his hometown of Cleveland in 2003. But he gained national attention for his 2008 single “Day ’N’ Nite.”
In his Facebook statement, Cudi revealed he has always battled with his mental health: “My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember,” he wrote, adding that he’s recently had difficulty leaving his house and socializing. While he apologized to fans and admitted he “feel[s] so ashamed,” he noted, “It’s time to fix me.”
Cudi has been speaking more openly about his mental health issues over the past year. In an interview with Billboard in April, he discussed how he previously used drugs to cope with his depression, and quit after feeling like he “was living a nightmare” putting on a smiling face for the world. Rehab, as he wrote on Facebook, will allow him to show himself the love he often doles out to others.
Taking a step to prioritize his mental health is no small feat considering the ways mental health is stigmatized, particularly for African Americans.
Around 18.2 percent of Americans have a mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, African Americans are 20 percent more likely to be dealing with mental health issues. Among the most common problems are depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Nonetheless, Monnica T. Williams, a clinical psychologist at the University of Louisville, pointed out at Psychology Today that many African Americans don’t seek treatment because they, like Cudi, feel embarrassed. It’s also not uncommon for black churchgoers to seek refuge in the church rather than going to a mental health professional.
Racist stereotypes can also compromise African Americans’ access to care. In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Princeton sociology graduate student Heather Kugelmass tried to examine how race played a role in mental health care. She found that implicit racial bias may deter many black therapy seekers from even getting their foot in the door.
For the study, a white patient and a black patient left separate voicemails for 320 New York City therapists. Kugelmass found that 30 percent of white middle-class clients were offered appointments from therapists, compared with 13 percent of black middle-class men and 21 percent of middle-class black women.
"Ultimately, the goal is high-quality care for all, but people need access at multiple stages in the process in order to get to that point," Kugelmass said of her study. "There's no quality of care for people who can't get through a therapist's door."
Cudi wrote that rehab will not get in the way of upcoming releases, even if he won’t be available to promote them, concluding “I’ll be back, stronger, better. Reborn.” His willingness to be transparent about his mental health may also set an example for others to seek help so that they can do the same.