Actor Kofi Siriboe is using his platform to spread awareness about mental health issues within the Black community. Siriboe released a short film in efforts to spark conversations surrounding the stigma that African Americans face when trying to seek help, the Huffington Post reported.
The film—dubbed WTF Is Mental Health?—captures the stories of seven young people of color who have continuously battled with mental health issues, the news outlet writes. Each person featured in the documentary candidly shares their experiences coping with their internal issues and how they’ve navigated their healing process.
Siriboe’s own experiences inspired him to create the documentary. In the past, he’s battled with anxiety and depression which made him feel uneasy and isolated. He says he wants the film to foster crucial conversations about the importance of seeking help and to diminish the stigma surrounding mental illness in communities of color. “I feel like with mental health, people always react negatively. We kinda have a lot of stigma in our community and in society in general,” the Queen Sugar actor told the Huffington Post. “If we don’t admit what’s going on to ourselves, we’re gonna keep hurting in silence, which is killing us twice as much as our Caucasian counterparts. No one is gonna talk about it because it’s taboo. That’s what I wanna end.”
Suicide has been pushed to the forefront of a national conversation after the deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. There have been initiatives launched to address the mental health stigma within the Black community. In April, the city of New York unveiled its Brothers Thrive program to extend support and services to Black men battling mental health issues and provide free Mental Health First Aid training for Black men.
Watch WTF Is Mental Health? below and share your thoughts in the comments.