kehlani stopped a show to speak about mental illness
Despite facing online attacks following her recent suicide attempt, the singer refuses to be silenced.
Screengrab via YouTube
Earlier this year R&B singer Kehlani was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. She shared a picture of herself in the hospital with the caption, "Today I wanted to leave the Earth. God saved me for a reason, and for that… I must be grateful.. Cuz I'm not in heaven right now for a reason." Despite the incredible candor it took for someone in the public eye to be transparent about their experience with suicide, many online reactions were unsettling. Some commenters suggested that it was a publicity stunt or an attention grab, not believing that someone could be that open about such a personal and traumatic experience. That condemnation gave a worrying look at how the public view the experiences of those struggling with mental illness.
Despite the aggressive response, Kehlani is committed to not having her experience silenced. At a recent show she paused to speak about her own experiences. In the moving speech she opened up about living with depression and the role we can play in helping others in our lives. "[Suicide] is something that so many young people are dealing with...and so many young people slip under the rug. Please don't try it. Don't do it."
Reflecting on her own experience she added, "It wasn't a first time thing, and that's not okay...for anyone. Not for the people around you, not for the people that love you, not the people that care about you." She also mentioned that she would be working with a suicide prevention hotline to help encourage others to seek help.
Despite conservative estimates showing that one in four people will experience mental illness in their lives, it's still incredibly difficult for those impacted to speak out. Hopefully by finding her own voice, Kehlani's words will offer support and encouragement to others. Because as she puts it, "you are worth it, you are perfect, you need to be here ever single day, you are meant to be here."
Text Wendy Syfret
Image via YouTube