Gospel singer and former Destiny's Child member, Michelle Williams checked herself into a mental health facility, according to TMZ. In an Instagram post, she mentioned that she is taking her own advice and sought support from healthcare professionals.
Michelle’s ability to speak out about her mental health challenges will encourage others, especially Black women to stand up and take control of their mental health. As Black women, we sometimes feel like we are carrying our entire race on our backs. We are so use to taking care of everyone else before ourselves. For instance, as slaves, our ancestors did not only take care of their master's children they also cared for children slaves. Our selflessness is deep rooted and many of those unhealthy habits impact us today. We often "pray it away" and we continue to function, and often times, we go undiagnosed.
Her story shows that mental illness does not discriminate as some may think that her success and fame excludes her from mental illness. It also reveals her bravery and courage. There is strength in admitting that something is wrong and you need help. In a previous interview with The Talk, Michelle mentioned that she began struggling with depression as a teenager but did not know what it was. She thought it was “growing pains.” She was eventually diagnosed as an adult.
I can relate to Michelle as it took me over 10 years to seek treatment. I started struggling with depression and anxiety in 9th grade. In fact, on average, it takes 10 years between the onset of symptoms and when individuals receive treatment, according to a report by Mental Health America. Untreated mental illness can result in jobless, instability, homelessness and suicide.
I hope Michelle's story inspires more black women to be vocal about their mental health struggles and realize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I applaud Michelle for stating that she needed help and decided to seek treatment. I am sending her prayers and love in her recovery.