The City of Los Angeles and Didi Hirsch, the leading provider of whole-person mental health and crisis care, honored Jhené Aiko as a Mental Health Is Health Ambassador on the steps of City Hall on Friday (April 29).
The six-time Grammy nominated singer and songwriter got emotional as she accepted the honor. “There’s no coincidence that we are on this earth with billions of others and there’s no reason anyone should feel alone in anything that they’re going through,” Aiko said during the ceremony. “It’s important that we’re there for one another to help each other get through this journey because it can be beautiful.”
Aiko has always been open about her mental health challenges so during the ceremony she spoke about how music is therapeutic and helped her cope with her anxiety, despair, and unresolved trauma.
“When I started to write and do music, it was my personal therapy to help me get through things,” she said. “I didn’t know about therapy; I didn’t know a lot about mental illness or depression or anxiety. And I just found that turning my pain and suffering into some form of art, transforming it into art, really helped me get through it. It helped me to realize that the reason why I do what I do is to help others get through what they’re going through.”
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The “Mental Health Is Health Month” campaign is a collaborative effort between Hirsch and Councilmember Nithya Raman’s office. According to the organization, an average of two Los Angeles residents die by suicide every day over the past year, about 10 percent of residents considered suicide while nearly 14 percent experienced severe psychological distress. This is an alarming trend that’s been reported across the country.
Throughout the month of May, Hirsch will launch different social media campaigns in order to help destigmatize mental health and normalize people opening up about their struggles.