Charlamagne tha God says mental health stigma has to do with ‘lack of information’

Radio host Charlamagne tha God told Hill.TV’s “Rising” that mental health remains stigmatized in the black community due to the sheer lack of information.

Lenard Larry McKelvey, known professionally as Charlamagne tha God, has long spoken candidly about his struggles with his mental health, saying the issue wasn’t openly discussed – even among those in his own family.

“My mom was going to therapy in 1998 when her and my father got a divorce – I didn’t know that until this year when I started to tell her about me going to therapy and then she’s like ‘you know I went back in 1998 and I’m like ‘you could have told me that 20 years ago…it might’ve helped me to realize that there’s a whole other resource out there,’ ” Charlamagne told Hill.TV correspondent Jamal Simmons during an interview that aired on Monday.

The radio personality, a co-host of the nationally-syndicated show “The Breakfast Club,” argues that mental health should be treated as an essential part to physical health, citing the stigma has a lot to due with the way it’s treated in society as a whole.

“The problem is just the lack of information and I think that we think there’s something wrong with therapy which is so weird because…you don’t have no problem if you’re out of shape, going to the gym,” he said.

But Charlamagne acknowledged that asking for help is difficult, particularly for young black men in urban areas, who grow up in violent neighborhoods and never get out of the situation.

“It’s hard to get help when you’re still in the middle of the hurt – If you’re still in the hood, if you’re still in these bad situations, it’s hard to see yourself on the outside,” he said.

The New York Times bestselling author is currently promoting his second book, “Shook One: Anxiety Playing tricks on me.” The new book was inspired by his own therapy sessions and personal struggles with anxiety.

“It gets me in trouble a lot – I tell it too much, talk too much about the good, the bad and the ugly of my life and things that I’ve been through but it’s worth it at the end of the day – I really do feel like the universe rewards honest people.”

— Tess Bonn

Featured clips