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9 Black Celebrities You May Not Know Suffer From Mental Illness

chris brown

Chris Brown

Earlier this year,  R&B star Chris Brown was diagnosed bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder,E! News reported.

On February 28, 2014, E! News obtained the singer’s probation officer’s report that included a letter from a residential treatment facility attributing Brown’s aggression and legal troubles to mental health issues. The statement below reads:

“Mr. Brown will… require close supervision by his treating physician in order to ensure his bipolar mental health condition remains stable,” the letter states. “It is not uncommon for patients with post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II to use substances to self-medicate their biochemical mood swings and trauma triggers. … Mr. Brown became aggressive and acted out physically due to his untreated mental health disorder, severe sleep deprivation, inappropriate self-medicating and untreated PTSD.”

lark voorhies

Lark Voorhies

In 2012, former Saved By The Bell star Lark Voorhies’ mother announced that her daughter is “mentally ill.”

During an interview with People magazine, Voorhies’ mother, Tricia, said that her daughter was battling bipolar disorder, which causes severe mood swings between mania and depression. “There are things that have traumatized her, Tricia said. “I care deeply about my daughter and I want her to resume her life.”



Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics

Metta World Peace

Basketball star Metta World Peace has also been diagnosed with a mental illness and has decided to help others who suffer from similar conditions.

The Los Angeles Times reports:  “World Peace sat recently in a room at Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA before 13 adults who suffer various mental health disorders. A half-hour later, he gathered with 23 kids with similar issues. World Peace provided them with a simple message: I’m facing the same problems you have. ‘I’m still learning about myself,’ he said. ‘This actually helps me in telling my story so I can continuously improve myself, stay mentally stronger and not let stuff bother me as much as it used to when I was younger. I still make mistakes.’”

Photo of Nina SIMONE

Nina Simone

Legendary jazz singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the late 1980s.

Nadine Cohodas, author of Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone (2012), touches on Simone’s behavior and bipolar symptoms. The 2004 book, Nina Simone: Break Down and Let It All Out, written by Sylvia Hampton and David Nathan, was the first to reveal Simone’s battle with mental illness. The authors describe Simone’s behavior under the condition:


“Nina Simone had a reputation in the music industry for being volatile and sometimes difficult to deal with, a characterization with which she strenuously took issue. In 1995, she shot and wounded her neighbor’s son with a pneumatic pistol after his laughter disturbed her concentration. She also fired a gun a

jenifer lewis

Jenifer Lewis

In a May 2005 interview, “Think Like A Man” actress Jenifer Lewis discussed her plight with bipolar disorder. Ever since, she has been willing to talk about the mental illness.

Since she was diagnosed in 1990, Lewis said she tried various therapies and medications. But she said she found that the key to coping with the disorder is to love yourself.

MTV Presents Sucker Free Week With DMX


In 2012, DMX opened up to television talk show host “Dr. Phil” in an interview about the rapper’s struggle with mental illness.

During the interview, DMX revealed that he suffers from bipolar disorder. “I used to be really clear on who was what and what characteristics each personality had. But I don’t know at this point. I’m not even sure there is a difference,” he continued. “I’m Earl when I’m with my children. I miss my children, I miss my children, I miss my children.”

Jesse Jackson Jr

Jesse Jackson Jr.

In 2012, Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. took an abrupt leave of absence from his office.

Later that year in August, a spokesperson for Jackson released a statement that the congressman was undergoing treatment for bipolar II with severe bouts of depression.

According to sources, Jackson was in a debilitating state, but made promising strides after receiving treatment from Mayo Clinic.

macy gray

Macy Gray

In a 2007 interview, singer Macy Gray was asked if she was ever diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she told the U.K.’s Daily Mail, “I used to be on medication, but I am not anymore, so if I was bipolar, I guess I am cured.”

In 2010, Gray spoke about how it feels to have the mental illness.  In an interview she was asked to complete the sentence, “Being famous feels like …”

Gray replied: “It feels bipolar. It just has very extreme ups and downs. It’s one thing and then another, and they’re always opposite.”

delonte west

Delonte West

In 2012, former NBA player Delonte West did not accompany his Dallas Mavericks teammates when they visited the White House for a celebration of their victory against the Miami Heat.

West claimed he couldn’t go because he had a prior gun charge that caused him to be banned by the White House security team.

However, sources say West skipped the event because of his battle with bipolar disorder, which at the time left him experiencing wild mood swings and grandiose thoughts.


Written by PH

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