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Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion launches website highlighting mental health resources

Megan Thee Stallion performs at the Reading Music Festival in England on Aug. 26.
Scott Garfitt
Megan Thee Stallion performs at the Reading Music Festival in England on Aug. 26.

Megan Thee Stallion is using her rising profile to address mental health issues and provide resources for those who may be experiencing anxiety, depression and other forms of emotional distress.

The 27-year-old Houston rapper, in conjunction with her recently released album called "Traumazine," has launched a website that includes a therapist locator as well as a collection of links and phone numbers for mental health organizations and hotlines. The site, taken from a line of her song “Anxiety,” focuses on resources for the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities.

"It's huge," said Nicole Milton, a training manager for Mental Health America of Greater Houston, a nonprofit that also provides awareness, education and resources for mental health issues. "One of our fights is to make sure we're reducing the stigma of mental health and seeking support. So here you have someone who is internationally known saying, ‘Hey, it's OK to not be OK and to ask for help. I also don't have days where I feel my best.’"

Megan Thee Stallion, a Pearland High School and Texas Southern University graduate whose real name is Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, addresses her own mental health challenges and the death of both of her parents in "Traumazine," her second studio album. Featured prominently on the new website is an animated video for "Anxiety," which shows a woman who resembles the rapper underwater and falling further below the surface.

The chorus for "Anxiety" includes the line, "All I really want to hear is it'll be OK."

The mental health website lists resources under four categories: Free Therapy Organizations, Mental Health Hotlines, Resource Directories and LGBTQIA+ Community Resources. Among the organizations and hotlines listed are the Black Mental Health Alliance, the National Crisis Text Line and the LGBT National Youth Talkline.

Although many of the resources highlighted are longstanding and widely known in some segments of society, Milton said Megan Thee Stallion is presenting them in a "new and fresh" way that is likely to reach a younger, more diverse demographic.

About 20% of school students in Texas contemplated suicide during the last year, according to Milton, who said members of the LGBTQIA+ community are three times as likely as their counterparts to experience suicidal thoughts or other mental health issues. Milton said about 20% of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and only about one-third of that group has received some sort of related treatment.

"She herself can be controversial. She's very body-positive," Milton said of Megan Thee Stallion. "People who tend to be more conservative could have issues with the way she dresses or the language she utilizes. But she's for a specific group of people who don't mind people who look the way she looks. She's also a Black woman. How often do you get to see Black people, famous or otherwise, taking care of their mental health and making that a priority?"

Megan Thee Stallion work's as an artist, and her charitable work in the community, has endeared herself to her hometown. In February, on her birthday, she launched the Pete and Thomas Foundation — named after her late parents, Joseph Pete Jr. and Holly Thomas — to help women, children and seniors in underserved parts of Houston, with a focus on education, health, housing and wellness.

The local rapper ceremonially received a key to the City of Houston on May 2 — the birthday of her late mother and grandmother — with Mayor Sylvester Turner declaring it "Megan Thee Stallion Day."

The entertainer's latest effort to give back, even though it coincides with the release of an album, is not self-serving, according to Milton.

"She's saying, ‘Hey, I know my listening audience, and I want to make sure you're taking care of yourselves. Besides the music I put out, here's a way to connect you to services,'" Milton said. "I think it's very powerful and admirable of an artist."

Copyright 2022 Houston Public Media News 88.7. To see more, visit Houston Public Media News 88.7.

Adam Zuvanich
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