Recognizing the power of music as a healing tool, a mental health awareness nonprofit organization has begun using hip-hop as a bridge to reach young people struggling with mental illness in Black and Brown communities. Founded in 2016, Peel Dem Layers Back has a mission to help them “creatively cope with trauma, positively express emotions, and foster community with others through healthy relationships with self, partner, family, and protective relationships with the world.”
Founder Archie Green is a hip-hop artist and mental health advocate who wants to destigmatize mental health. As a young black man, Green used music to diffuse his own pain, channeling it into an expressive art form. His organization has built a musically focused program called Cope Dealer. The 10-week program provides a safe space for kids to create original music and opens opportunities in communities without a lot of mental health resources.
Through the program a group of four young men formed The Cope Kingz and create music under Green’s tutelage. In addition to music, Cope Dealer provides licensed social workers and mental health resources. National statistics indicate that just over 40 percent of young blacks between 18 and 25 have gotten treatment for "serious mental illness."
In what ways has your ministry incorporated the arts into your guest programs and therapies? Need some suggestions? Rockford Rescue Mission has a Performing Arts Center in their mission where residents can perfect and record their musical talent.
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