Big Sean, who has been very open about his mental health struggles, believes emotional and psychological coping skills should be taught at an early age.
“It really needs to be just like how they teach us about STDs and sex in health class,” Sean said during a recent appearance on Ebro Darden’s The Message series. “They need to make sure they teach us about how to deal with anxiety or how to breathe properly and all of that. It all should be together, because it’s all connected. It’s not like the head is separate from anything, it’s all together.”
The episode, which aired in the final week of Mental Health Awareness Month, centered on Sean’s strategies that have helped him deal with and overcome mental hardships. He spoke about the power of mindful breathing—saying it is a simple and effective way to relieve stress—as well as the importance of meditation and manifestation, both of which he embraced as a teen.
As part of his efforts to promote mental stability and wellness, the Detroit rapper has created a weekly video series that has ran throughout the month of May. The videos—which were produced alongside his mom Myra Anderson—consists of tips and discussions on everything from meditation and sleep cycles to diet and exercise.
“It was actually [my mom’s] idea because she been with me throughout the whole pandemic at my crib, and she sees the stuff that I have applied to my everyday life that helps me get through and helps me stay productive, stay inspired, stay active,” Sean told Ebro about the series. “Some of the stuff she’s taught me, some of the stuff I’ve learned on my own. But she was just like ‘Yo you gotta put people onto this, you gotta use your platform for not just music and all of that.’ She kept bugging me about it, it just made me be like, ‘Let’s just do it. Might as well just put the information out there for the people that can use it.’”
Sean also touched on the ways his approach to mental health has made him much more thoughtful and considerate when it came to releasing music.
“I ain’t the same as I was when I was 21 and 22 putting out my first album,” he said. “It’s a whole decade later, so if you stay the same and you ain’t changed, you ain’t growed, and that’s just kind of weird. I embraced the growth and all of that, but I also don’t want people to get it fucked up that I really can, that the bars are still 100 percent there. I don’t want people playing with my name for sure. From 2017 to 2020 I was doing a lot of stuff for myself, so my last album was me getting back into my groove. I don’t think I need a longer break like that anymore. I’m gonna keep going with the music and like I said we have some new music on the way now. But it’s a different level of just… consciousness to it… that’s all.”
You can check out the special Mental Health Awareness episode of The Message via Apple Music 1 above. Sean also touches on the stigma that surrounds self-care, the importance of circadian rhythms, and the lessons we can learn from the late DMX, who always strived to help others despite his own pain.
“DMX never was that guy to rock all the chains and come and try and stun on you. He was that guy that was coming through with a prayer on you in the middle of the concert,” Sean said. “He was that guy coming through on you pouring his heart and soul out and just being him. He wasn’t trying to follow no trends. He wasn’t trying to change with the times. He was just doing him, and when people like that come along, you have no choice but to respect their iconic identity, and the impact that they gave to the world, and the authenticity. They wasn’t doing it for the ego of it. They were doing it for the purpose of it. And that’s a big, big difference, and a lot of people don’t do it for that.”