Neuroscientist & Psychiatrist Are Promoting Using Hip Hop To Treat Mental Illness


(AllHipHop News) For all the negative societal issues that often get fairly or unfairly associated with rap music, neuroscientist Dr. Becky Inkster at England’s University of Cambridge and psychiatrist Dr. Akeem Sule, a Wolfson College associate, have started the social venture Hip Hop Psych to help treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression.

[ALSO READ: Beats Rhymes & Life’s “Hip Hop Therapy” Program Seeks To Improve Young People’s Social Outcomes]

“There is so much more to Hip Hop than the public realizes,” Inkster told The Guardian. “It is rich in references to psychiatric illnesses that have not been properly explored and which could be of enormous benefit to patients.”

Inkster and Sule view patients being able to use Hip Hop as part of their therapy by writing and rapping lyrics. They could possibly see medical students learning about mental health issues through the art form as well.

According to Inkster, rappers have already been using their craft as a form of healing. She believes some Hip Hop performers have a tendency to suffer from depression and other mental health problems because of their upbringing.

“Many key rappers and Hip Hop artists come from deprived urban areas which are often hotbeds for problems such as drug abuse, domestic violence and poverty, which are in turn linked to increased occurrences of psychiatric illnesses,” added Inkster.

Veteran emcee Pharoahe Monch actually tackled the issue of mental illness on his latest album PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Earlier this year, Monch discussed his own battle with depression with

“‘Losing My Mind’ and the title track are actual accounts of me dealing with a bout of depression where I had been hospitalized with asthma. The attack at the time was real severe, so the amount of medication I was receiving was pretty harsh,” explained Monch. “After leaving the hospital, I went from taking the medication intravenously to pills, and I was just bombarded with not being able to sleep and overall not being able to process anything. I just remember being like ‘what the f**k is happening to me?’”

Hip Hop Psych will be covering artists like 2Pac, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole at the upcoming Cambridge Festival of Ideas event on October 20.

[ALSO READ: After Surviving Wars With The Industry & Depression Pharoahe Monch Prescribes The “P.T.S.D.” Album]