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Kofi Siriboe Makes An Urgent Case For Discussing Black Mental Health

Black psychological well being isn’t only a speaking level for Kofi Siriboe.

He’s fascinated about the subject ― and about making room for black other folks to have open and truthful discussions on it. 

“I feel like with mental health, people always react negatively. We kinda have a lot of stigma in our community and in society in general,” the 24-year-old actor advised HuffPost. “I feel like that space wasn’t really created for us.”

The “Queen Sugar” actor is the use of his platform to switch that. Siriboe stepped at the back of the digicam for “WTF Is Mental Health?” ― one in all his first forays into manufacturing and a venture he’s liberating completely to HuffPost. Filmed within the Bronx, the short-form documentary explores psychological well being amongst younger black other folks. In the mini-documentary, seven other folks get actual about their particular person psychological well being trips and talk about the demanding situations and stigmas they’ve confronted alongside the best way.

“Making ‘WTF Is Mental Health?’ has been a part of a healing process for me, one I’m still exploring,” Siriboe added. “It’s the companion piece to ‘Jump,’ a short film I made after a mentor and big brother figure died by suicide, just before I got the call that I’d been cast in ‘Queen Sugar.’ I started working on this beautiful, emotional show and felt how liberating it was to channel my fears into art. As I began to mold ‘Jump,’ I realized the true conversation I was craving centered on young black people who are figuring out this mental health thing, too.”

“Everybody doesn’t have that language and doesn’t understand that there is a community or world out there of people who are dealing with similar things, so I really want to explore what it is and what it means to us,” Siriboe stated. “A lot of our project is just asking questions, and I think with the questions they’re able to give us answers and able to define these definitions for ourself rather than what we’re accustomed to being told.”

Siriboe’s personal struggles with psychological well being led him to create this venture. At the peak of his good fortune when he was once attaining his goals was once when he felt “some type of unease, a level of unhappiness I really couldn’t shake.” 

“I didn’t really have the language, but I think it’s a mixture of anxiety, it’s a mixture of depression, it’s a mixture of general unease,” he persevered. “Also sometimes, it’s just feeling isolated.”

Though those conversations might really feel new for a lot of the black neighborhood, they’re pressing because of the original trauma black other folks face each day. A record printed in JAMA Pediatrics in May discovered that black youngsters ages five to 12 are two times as most likely as white youngsters to kill themselves. 

Siriboe additionally stressed out the significance of getting an outlet to precise feelings. He stated that may be a privilege now not afforded to numerous black other folks.

“I get to express, but what about those people who don’t have that opportunity, they’re bottling up all this emotion and being told it’s not real then we wanna talk about mental health after there’s a reaction to what’s been bottled up … and it’s not gonna stop. It’s only gonna keep getting worse,” he stated of the suicide charges. “It creates a system that disconnects a person, disconnects a community and we’re weak that way. It creates a vulnerability that isn’t strength. It’s not chosen. We should be vulnerable by choice cause that’s all we can be. We have to acknowledge what it is and accept it.”

He hopes that bringing his tale to the vanguard can assist domesticate an atmosphere the place black other folks can heal. In addition to the movie, Siriboe is calling younger black other folks to put up a video describing their psychological well being understandings and stories. 

“If we don’t admit what’s going on to ourselves, we’re gonna keep hurting in silence, which is killing us twice as much as our Caucasian counterparts. No one is gonna talk about it because it’s taboo,” he stated. “That’s what I wanna end.”

Watch “WTF Is Mental Health?” above.

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