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Mental Illness Has a New Treatment: Hip Hop Psych

Hip Hop music has come a long way from the ’80s. From its debut in the streets of the Bronx, to the latest Kia commercial, hip-hop is taking the world by storm.

Despite the negative coverage the media outlets happen to fixate on, there is a new study happening that involves hip-hop in a light one never knew.

According to the Guardian, UK researchers believe there is a new use for hip-hop; they believe it can be utilized as a treatment for mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression.

The group feels hip-hop delivers a sense of empowerment and self-knowledge that could be exploited to help people tackle their own psychological problems.

In effort to promote the idea, a neuroscientist Becky Inkster, of Cambridge University department of psychiatry, and consultant psychiatrist Akeem Sule, of the South Essex Partnership Trust, developed Hip Hop Psych.

Inkster and Sule describe it as a social aventure to promote the use of hip-hop as an aid to the treatment of mental illness.

Inkster said, “There is so much more to hip-hop than the public realizes. I grew up in the ’90s during the golden era of hip-hop, when it exploded into mainstream culture.”

“It is rich in references to psychiatric illnesses that have not been properly explored and which could be of enormous benefit to patients. We want to work with rappers, charities, medical groups and others to promote its real potential.”

Participants of Hip Hop Psych will write and rap their own lyrics during their sessions as part of their therapy. Inkster stated, “One technique we want to explore is to get individuals who are seeking therapy to write out where they see themselves in a year or two and to use rap lyrics to outline their future histories.”

“Many key rappers and hip-hop artists come from deprived urban areas which are often hotbeds for problems such as drug abuse, domestic violence and poverty, which are in turn linked to increased occurrences of psychiatric illnesses,” she continued. “These problems are rooted in their language and in their songs.”

This comes as a breath of fresh air for hip-hop lovers. Rap and R&B have already made a significant impact in society, no matter the background.

From the way we dress, to the way we do our hair, hip-hop has influenced not only our country, but the entire world. Take Iggy Azeala for instance; who would’ve thought there would be an Australian rapper?