According to news early this week, American rapper, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and notorious workaholic, Kanye West has been hospitalized due to lack of sleep and severe exhaustion and has subsequently cancelled the rest of his tour.
However, conflicting reports reveal that West could be suffering from a ‘psychotic breakdown’ and was handcuffed for his own safety before being taken to hospital. In the light of this news, we asked Samantha Francis, Managing Director of Find A Balance, a mental health social enterprise that assists sufferers through rehabilitation, on whether the breakdown is a sign of an underlying psychological condition.
What are some of the symptoms of mental illness?
Some of the symptoms of mental illness include hallucinating, hearing voices, not being able to sleep and loss of appetite. There have been reports that Kanye West has not been able to sleep but his sources may not want to reveal any other symptom for many reasons including the stigma associated with mental health.
Firstly, it was evident that he was spiraling down from the outburst directed towards Taylor Swift during the 2009 MTV Music Video awards where he publicly stated Beyoncé should have won. He also compared himself to Jesus which seems bizarre and extremely self-aggrandising. Secondly, he seems increasingly paranoid, which has probably been exacerbated by his wife Kim Kardashian being robbed at gunpoint in Paris recently. Thirdly, unmerited frustration – he has shown signs of irritability and extreme frustration in the public eye through dialogue, including his recent vent about particular high profile individuals at his own concert.
What causes a psychotic breakdown or mental illness?
People may laugh and say he is crazy and has lost it, but actually this is why mental illness can go unchecked – it isn’t a funny issue. Kanye West may have always been vulnerable and losing his mother so suddenly would have made an impact and made him feel even more ‘exposed’. The fact that his outbursts could be symptoms of psychotic behaviour will be a heartbreaking lesson for his family and loved ones. If he or they had taken these outbursts more seriously and approached the signs from much earlier on, I feel such a dramatic breakdown would have been prevented – there are definitely underlying issues that are bothering West.
Are there any other factors that contribute towards the progression of mental health?
As well as factors like the loss of a loved one, stress from work, or fame in Kanye West’s case, statistically, black males are more likely to suffer psychotic breakdowns due to a number of reasons. Drugs, peer pressure, trying to sustain a macho image and not being able to show an emotional side or vulnerability can cause immense pressure to the individual over a period of time, which can result in an outburst, such as the one that West had on stage.
Samantha Francis’ Find A Balance programmes focus on addressing the root of the mental health problem initially, intense talking therapy, physical exercise and supporting families and friends of people suffering from mental health problems. She offers a unique service to 8-17 & 18-year-olds within Black and Minorities Ethnic (BAME) communities.
Notes to editors
About Find A Balance
Find A Balance is a mental health service provider specializing in working with NEET (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) 8-17 & 18-year-olds within Black and Minorities Ethnic (BAME) communities, offering bespoke, intense and early intervention mental health programmes. This includes, and isn’t limited to, employability programmes, family consultations, and ongoing support into and beyond securing employment, education & training.
Studio 311, Colour Works, 2 Abbot Street, London, E8 3DP
Home/Find A Balance Programmes:
My Balanced Work Life
This is a 12- 24-week programme designed to assist 8-17 year olds & 18 year olds & over that have mental health issues into sustainable employment, education & back into the community. The programme focuses on five key areas:
- Developing a personal care plan to meet the needs of the client
- The provision of psychotherapy treatment
- Family consultation sessions to learn more about the client and integrate the family into the care plan
- The provision of education and employability training to the client
- The provision of on-going support beyond employment or education
Supporting Our Young
This is a one-day workshop for family members supporting young person/loved ones that has mental health issues. The workshop will assist attendees in gaining a deeper understanding of how to provide the necessary support to their loved one/young person as well as practical methods for dealing with their own state of mind.
The Balanced Support
(Monthly Membership Programme) is a peer-to-peer group coaching programme for young people/ Adults with mental health issues. Once a month the group will meet up to share their progress, challenges and solutions with each other. The aim is to empower the members with tools to make a difference in their life. Experts will be invited to deliver talks and training to further assist and strengthen the group. We will also send useful content such as videos and blogs to members on a monthly basis via email.