A local hip-hop artist and mental health advocate is speaking out today and encouraging others to break the stigma attached to mental health illnesses in communities – after learning of a manhunt surrounding his friend of nine years.
“A lot of shock. A little disbelief. A lot of pain,” said Archie Green.
Green felt compelled to go live on Facebook after learning about a video that police say was uploaded by Steve Stephens, showing a man, now identified as Robert Godwin Sr., who was fatally shot allegedly at the hands of Stephens.
Green said he was a friend of Stephens for about nine years. Looking back at his relationship with Stephen, Green said he believes he was showing signs that he was struggling with a mental health illness.
“Certain times he would be having certain issues, demons he may have been battling and not a lot of people would take him seriously for that.”
Green believes there’s a stigma surrounding mental health with some people opting out of getting help and ignoring signs of depression.
“It’s something that’s kind of been shunned and swept under the rug.”
His own personal experience helps him to understand the issue. Green said he was only made aware of his depression about four years ago through a friend who also happened to be a psychologist. Green now identifies himself as a mental health advocate and uses his music to spread the message on the importance of getting treatment.
He is working to break the stigma attached to getting treatment for mental health issues and is encouraging others to speak up -- instead of remaining silent while struggling with a mental health issue. It’s something he believes may have helped Stephens.
“A lot of people in my community, in the black community, are uneducated on the benefits or what type of treatment options they have."
That’s why Green said he will continue to share his story and express himself in his music, hoping to encourage people to speak up and ask for help.