Chance The Rapper Pledges $1 Million For Mental Health

By David Konow 10/09/18

“We want to change the way that mental health resources are being accessed,” Chance said at a summit for his nonprofit, SocialWorks.

Chance The Rapper
Photo via YouTube

As one of the more prominent hip-hop artists to speak out about mental health, Chance the Rapper is putting his money where his mouth is by pledging $1 million to mental health services in Chicago.

According to Rolling Stone, this is part of a new mental health initiative that the Chicago native (born Chancelor Jonathan Bennett) has launched called My State of Mind, which could grow into a major resource for people in the Chicago area who need help.

As part of this initiative, six mental health wellness providers in Chicago will receive grants of $100,000 each.

Chance announced his pledge at a summit for his nonprofit organization, SocialWorks. “We want to change the way that mental health resources are being accessed. We need a new space where people can get information on how they feel, on where to go and a network for us to interact and review our mental health spaces, and create a community of people helping people.”

Chance has seen a lot of devastation in the south side of Chicago, a large part of the city which has been ravaged by gun violence. 

Brad Stolbach, a clinical director at a Chicago treatment center, told The Root, “Every time a person gets shot, especially a young person, there are literally hundreds of people who are affected by that shooting.”

Stolbach adds that the victims left behind are “not thought about.”

Research studies showed that areas that have the most gun violence also have the highest rates of hospitalization for depression, anxiety and PTSD, among other mental health disorders.

When Chicago cut $113.7 million in funds for mental health services, Bennett spoke out against the Mayor Rahm Emanuel for closing down six mental health clinics in 2012.

Last year, he told Complex, “A really big conversation and idea that I’m getting introduced to right now is black mental health. 'Cause for a long time that wasn’t a thing that we talked about. I don’t remember, when I was growing up, that really being a thing. Now I’m starting to get a better understanding of that part of my life.”

Even though Bennett experienced traumatic events growing up, he added, “I don’t ever want to convince myself that I’m hindered by any of my experiences. There’s definitely a lot of things that have happened in my life that would cause me to think a certain way or feel a certain way. But I don’t label those experiences as traumatic events. They are events that were paradigm shifts in my life, but I don’t know if they caused a disadvantage.” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.