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Hip hop artists bring awareness to mental health issues

Def Jam Recordings/Special to Bear Witness

Def Jam Recordings/Special to Bear Witness

Omar Ababneh, Staff Writer

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Depression is a debilitating mental disease that is hard to cope with.

One in five adults suffer from a mental illness in the United States suffers from depression, according to Mental Health America, a nonprofit organization aiming to educate others and help those afflicted.

Symptoms of depression include an increased amount of anxiety and feeling of hopelessness. Depression often leaves one feeling sad, empty, hopeless and unhappy.

Depression and suicide have been prominent themes in the music scene in the past decade, with artists like of Logic and XXXTentacion making sure it is being addressed.  Artists like them are opening a platform for anybody suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, encouraging people to be open about their struggles.

Logic’s song “1-800-273-8225,” whose title references the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, shows that those with suicidal tendences can seek help. The song is written like a conversation between the lifeline’s operator and a caller, and includes lyrics such as “I want you to be alive/you don’t gotta die today.”

After the song was released, the National Suicide Prevention said that it received the second-highest call volume in its history.  Their Twitter page saw 1 million impressions and their Facebook page saw three times the usual traffic. Google searches for the lifeline number spiked up more than 100 percent.

Logic himself suffered depression and anxiety as a younger child, and said that want to use the music platform to help people cope with any problems. He wants them to feel like they’re not alone, that there are many others that suffer mental disorders, and that it’s okay to reach out for help.

The artist XXXTentacion also has a message in his new album “17.”  In his first track, “The Explanation,” he introduces the album, saying, “Here is my pain and thoughts put into words.  I put my all into this, in the hopes that it will help cure or at least numb your depression.  I love you.  Thank you for listening.  Enjoy.”

Throughout the album, XXXTentacion addresses pain, loneliness, and depression in every song, reaching out to listeners who may suffer from mental illness. XXXTentacion said that he suffered depression as a young child, feeling lonely and not the same as other peers. He said that knows what it feels like to suffer.

He said the goal of his songs wants to make music for young people like him to have someone relatable.

“I love these kids, and I know what it’s like to be alone,” he said in an interview with Miami radio station 103.5 Beat.

Junior Abby Lang, a fan of XXXTentacion, says, “When I listen to X’s music, it almost helps me relate to him. He’s one of the few artists that talk about touchy subjects like depression and it’s something I think a lot of people our age feel. I definitely mean it when I say that music heals.”

Many other artists, including Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, and Lil Uzi Vert, have also openly addressed depression and mental illness in their songs, as well as explaining how they use music to establish a connection with listeners in pain.

Some say that music creates a safe space for them.

“Sometimes music is able to efficiently depict emotions that you might not not have even known you obtained,” said junior Rose Gipstein. “It has the ability to transport you to an alternate universe. A place where the problems you struggle with are non-existent. A place where you are not alone. I think music allows for the soul to be shown… real, vulnerable, messy.”

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