Rapper Kid Cudi’s current mental health admission and his willingness to check himself into a rehabilitation center for anxiety and depression came at a crucial moment this year. He should be applauded for his courage not only to make a social media post about his personal struggles but the audacity to check him-self into rehab to get better. In a nation that praise’s fame and celebrity, money and material things, it’s very important that celebrities share their experiences with depression so children and young adults can understand that “things” are not the key to happiness and depression can happen to anyone.

It is estimated that 5 to 10 percent of black men have depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suicide is the third leading cause of death among black males ages 15-24. One in 10 college students has made a plan for suicide and there are more than 1,000 suicides each year on college campuses. There has always been a negative stigma surrounding black men dealing with their mental health, which must be eradicated if the African American community ever wants to replenish strong family structures and communities. How can we produce a generation of strong, entrepreneurial and educated black men if they are being raised by broken and mentally unstable men?

A mental health illness does not only affect that particular person but the people that love him and individuals that he associates with. Black men must become and remain mentally fit; the rebuilding of the black family and community depends on it. Black men have worn the badge of a “machismo identity” as an honor at the expense of their own sanity for far too long. There is absolutely no shame in seeking treatment to be mentally strong in order to be the leader of your home, and an upstanding man within your community.

So this letter is my plea and challenge to black men to seek help if you are experiencing any of these issues: disruption in sleep patterns, loss of interests, feelings of hopelessness or guilt, decreased energy, decreased concentration, increased or decreased appetite, irritability and restlessness or slower speech and movements and/or suicidal thoughts.

Roosevelt Mitchell III, M.Ed. is an Award Winning Educator, Author, Scholar and Disability Expert. Please visit his website for more information at http://rooseveltmitchell.com/.