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3 takeaways from Gherbo’s Swervin’ Through Stress Initiative



G Herbo and Audiomack recently announced that they have partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and InnoPsych to create a new mental health initiative called Swervin’ Through Stress

Swervin’ Through Stress’ Dream Team Therapy Fund will provide 12 weeks of free therapy sessions to Black youth nationwide between the ages of 18-25. The initiative also includes a hotline that will be monitored by professionals provided by NAMI, while InnoPsych will help match patients with adequate therapists. InnoPsych’s participation is important because the platform is focused on eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health in minority communities as well as specializing in therapy for people of color. 

1) 63% of African Americans believe that a mental health condition is a personal sign of weakness. –Nursing Research

Toxic masculinity plagues the black community. A lot of us are in jail in or dead because we feel that we have to prove how tough we are. No one wants to be “soft” or “food” in the hood. Having a validated street rapper such as G Herbo speaking out and opening up about his trauma can serve as motivation to other black males coming from the streets. If they see a rapper that they admire display venerability by talking about his trauma, it could result in them doing the same. Young Black men need to know that getting help doesn’t make them weak.

2) Black youth who are exposed to violence are at a greater risk for PTSD by over 25% – American Psychological Association.

G Herbo is an artist who had his debut at the age of 16. When he released his track Gang Way produced by DJ L, it was filled with violent street lyrics. At a young age it was clear that G Herbo had been through a lot. His classic mixtape Welcome To Fazoland is the soundtrack of Black youth from the city of Chicago living in poverty. Chicago is a city where black men are forced to become adults at the age of 12. Young black men are taught to have sex at a young age, some before they even can ejaculate properly. It’s also a city that lacks the influence of Hollywood, and with lack of celebrities to look up to as role models a lot of the youth admire “hood fame” and street culture. Gangbangers aka “shooters” are like celebrities in Chicago. The youth want to be the shooters.

On the other side of the coin you have the victims of the shooters. Not all the victims are gang affiliates; it’s a lot innocent people who are victims of violence. In 2020 it seems as if the theme for the summer is killing innocent youth. It seems like every week there is a new story about another baby being shot and killed. As I’m writing this article, I’m learning about how a 9 year old was just killed in Chicago. A kid who had classmates and friends that he associated with daily. How are they suppose to cope with losing a friend? Are they now afraid that they could be next? What about those teens who lose classmates?

Depression rates for Black/African American youth ages 18-25 rose from 6.1% to 9.4% between 2015 and 2018. Source: SAMHSA, 2018

3) In 2018, 58.2% of Black/African American young adults 18-25 with serious mental illness did NOT receive treatment. Source: CDC, 2019

Providing mental health help to the community is amazing, seeing that a lot us never received it. I know the Black community doesn’t like to talk about these type of things, but it is very well needed. Keeping things bottled up may lead to depression and suicide.

Suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts are also rising among Black/African American young adults aged 18-25:

  • 9.5% (439,000) had serious thoughts of suicide in 2018, compared to 6% (277,000) in 2008.

  • 3.6% (166,000) made a plan in 2018, compared to 2.1% (96,000) in 2008,

  • 2.4% (111,000) made an attempt in 2018 to 1.5% (70,000) in 2008.

Source: SAMHSA, 2018

Having someone to talk to about your problems is an amazing resource to have. This outlet that G Herbo and his team have created could help decrease the numbers above. Those interested in taking advantage of the Swervin’ Through Stress initiative can sign up on the website. The sessions are set to begin on Sept. 10.


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