Kehlani, Kid Cudi Epitomizing Double Standards of Mental Health

On Oct. 4, Kid Cudi took to Facebook to inform his fans that he had checked into a mental rehabilitation center the previous day. He wrote about the decline of his mental health in recent years and admitted he’s been “living a lie” by putting on the persona that nothing has been wrong when really he was contemplating ending his own life.

Story | Madison Lippincott

“My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it,” Cudi wrote. “I can’t make new friends because of it. I don’t trust anyone because of it and I’m tired of being held back in my life. I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling. Why not me?”

He assured fans and loved ones that he was getting help, wasn’t giving up, and that his newest album is still on the way. The post in its entirety can be read below.

Cudi was met by a wave of support from fans, loved ones, and stars alike. Across the board, people outpoured gratitude for his bravery and strength in coming forward with his struggle. In fact, a movement was born from Cudi’s revelation. #YouGoodMan took over Twitter the weeks following Cudi’s Facebook confession; black men from all over the world are praising Cudi for breaking the stigma against black men with mental illnesses.

Unfortunately, while one stigma has been broken in this great feat of Kid Cudi, the same cannot be said for another, equally as important stigma still present in our society.

Almost seven months ago in late March, 20-year-old R&B artist Kehlani was hospitalized for attempted suicide after rumors that she cheated on her then-boyfriend Kyrie Irving with ex-boyfriend Jahron Anthony Brathwaite, better known as PartyNextDoor, began to circulate throughout the internet. The rumor originated when PartyNextDoor posted a photo to his Instagram of him and Kehlani holding hands in his bed with the caption, “After all the shenanigans, still go the R&B singer back in my bed.”

The announcement of her attempted suicide came in the form of a post to her personal Instagram, shown below via screenshot from MTV’s original write-up of the incident. The post can no longer be accessed as her Instagram and Twitter accounts were deactivated shortly after the incident.

Kehlani Suicide Instagram | The Lunch Table

Unlike Kid Cudi a few weeks ago, Kehlani was met with violent judgment and harassment from not only fans but also fellow artists. Chris Brown spoke his piece not even 24 hours after the incident, saying, “There is no attempting suicide. Stop flexing for the (Insta)gram.” Brown’s intentions were said to be good as he was supposedly sticking up for his friend who was none other than Kyrie Irving. Though Irving was nothing but supportive of Kehlani in her time of need. However, what Brown has really done is perpetrate a stigma that we hardly acknowledge in today’s day and age.

While the circumstances of the situations are a bit different, there’s still an obvious double standard lurking in the background of this comparison. So, the big picture question is why are men met with praise and support when they admit they’re mentally damaged but women who do the same are met with hostility and rejection?

Think this is the first instance of double standards in terms of mental illness? Let’s flashback to 2012 when Amanda Bynes lost her way, for lack of a better phrase. What did Amanda Bynes receive? Attention, that’s for sure. But hundreds of thousands of people took to Twitter to gawk at her “craziness” rather than encouraging her to reach out for help. She was also criticized over and over again, even when she checked herself into a mental hospital in 2013.

Now, let’s flash forward to 2014. On the fateful night of August 11th, world-renowned comedian Robin Williams took his own life. Kind thoughts and prayers could be heard around the globe for Williams and his family. Not an ill word was spoken of him.

Both actors. Both comedians. Both mentally unstable. Yet, one was praised for their braveness for their courageous fight on the battlefield of mental illness while the other was reduced to a form of entertainment and a “nut job” to poke at.

Is it coincidental that the dauntless ones in both cases were men while both “nut jobs” were women? An article by TIME.com suggests that men have long been revered (according to Victorian literature circa the 1800s) as the more rational of the two genders, which “[equated] men with reason and women with madness.” This meant that men’s mental illness was justifiable while women’s was written off as pure unfounded insanity.

Side note, research done by the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Statistics found that women are almost twice as likely to experience depression (9% : 5%) and anxiety disorders (23% : 14%). In theory, you could use these statistics to argue that women are, indeed, less rational than men making them more susceptible to “insanity.” However, statistics like these have nothing to do with the accountability of a woman’s admission to having a mental illness than a man’s. Just because women are technically more susceptible to psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, eating disorders (and the list goes on and on), it has no impact on whether or not their cries for help are any less credible. If anything, this should make women more credible in terms of coming forward with psychological disorders.

So, in short, stop giving women a hard time. Stop giving women a hard time about being depressed. They can’t just “stop being sad”. Stop giving women a hard time about being anxious. It takes a lot more than deep breathing to stop a panic attack. Stop giving women a hard time about their eating disorders. “Just ordering a cheeseburger” can often make people with compromised digestive systems very sick. Stop giving women (or anyone really) a hard time about having a hard time already. No one should need to justify a call for help.

One thought on “Kehlani, Kid Cudi Epitomizing Double Standards of Mental Health

  1. You can’t compare apples and oranges. Let’s say Rhianna came out and said she checked into rehab because of suicidal thoughts. She would receive so much praise and not 1% of the hate that Kehlani did. That idea alone is enough to disprove the whole argument. There are so many things in play In Kehlani’s case and her gender is the smallest part. On top of that you can’t compare Amanda Bynes and Robin Williams to assert that society treats women differently. Amanda Bynes was a child start that is now known best for drunk driving and tweeting the president about it. She has made a spectacle of herself. On the other hand Robin Williams lived his whole life as the funny, happy and genuine man who without warning took his life. There is no comparing these two comedians. If you wanted to compare Amanda Bynes with Charlie Sheen or Michael Jackson you would see there’s really no difference in how society reacts to the same types of episodes no matter the gender.

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