The lyrics found in hip-hop can help mental health professionals understand the triumphs and trauma experienced by African American boys and men, Sarah Y. Vinson, MD, said at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. This understanding can enable clinicians to recognize hopelessness and pain in those patients that they otherwise might have missed.
In this video, Dr. Vinson said her session at the APA meeting looked at the history of hip-hop and focused on the perspectives embedded in the work of several artists/groups, including N.W.A, Tupac Shakur, Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover), J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar.
One of the take-home points for clinicians, Dr. Vinson said, is that hip-hop, an art form that has spread across the world, came out of resilience. Another is that suicidality in black men might not look the same as it does in other patients. “It doesn’t necessarily look like cutting your own wrists or having thoughts of killing yourself – it may look like reckless behavior that puts you at risk of being killed by somebody else,” Dr. Vinson said.
Dr. Vinson, who is triple boarded in child and adolescent psychiatry, adult psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry, is in private practice in Atlanta. She had no financial disclosures.