The Manliness of Men (Kanye West) Who Say "Yes" To Counseling

I would like to applaud the Ed Lover, Rickey Smiley, and KD Bowe Morning shows for asking me to join their morning radio shows to discuss Black men and mental health in lieu of the recent psychiatric hospitalization of rapper, Kanye West, after he displayed erratic behavior at a his concert. I also applaud rappers such as Kid Cudi, Eminem, Scarface, DMX, and countless other rappers who have shined the light on mental illness and men through their music and/or public statements. I jumped at the opportunity to give these interviews because I feel a strong calling to give men, especially Black men, permission to be “manly” in seeking counseling for our emotional pain and quest for peace of mind and true mental health.

Many men have been brainwashed to think that counseling, therapy and/or asking for help for legitimate emotional pain is unmanly, punkish and/or a sign of male weakness. However, I would like to present three short arguments as to why I feel that seeking counseling is actually the manliest thing that we can do when facing stress, emotional issues and life changes.

1. Men Have Feelings Too

From my eighteen years of conducting counseling and having working relationships with thousands of men over my lifetime, I would bet that at least one in three have serious emotional pain that has not been properly dealt with. This world can be a very cruel place and many men struggle with dealing with unresolved emotional and psychological pain. The issues can range from childhood abuse, abandonment issues, absent fathers, loss of family, witnessing violence, failed relationships, feelings of inadequacy and/or shame related to money, career, divorce, family relationships, etc. These issues can manifest as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, angry outbursts, sleep problems, psychotic symptoms, substance abuse issues, etc. In short, men have issues galore that must be dealt with to truly achieve mental health.

2. Why You Should Talk About It

As a man, I get it. You’re thinking…why should I talk about things I don’t want to think about? Maybe you are thinking, “What’s the point of crying over spilled milk, especially if it won’t change anything?” Here’s the quick and straight to the point answer…because the pain is real and you will never be able to get over it without first admitting that you were hurt deeply. I always trump to “doing the harder thing” as a good indicator of manhood. So here’s the question. Which one is harder? Keeping your feelings inside or talking about them? Most men would agree that talking about pain is far more difficult because it forces us to go back to places and deal with feelings that we would rather forget. However, remember, it’s not what we say that controls us but what we cannot talk about that dooms and controls us. Pain must be released, acknowledged and talk about for it to lose its intensity and control over our emotions. If physical injuries require surgery, rehabilitation and treatment to properly heal why would the approach be any different when it comes to emotional, mental pain? Talking about pain is the surgery and counseling is literally the rehabilitation and treatment phase. My brothers, go get healed so that you don't carry your pain around for the rest of your life.

3.Not Seeking Counselin