Darryl “DMC” McDaniels is back with a new memoir, Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide, which delves into a seemingly unlikely topic: mental health issues. But for the Run DMC co-founder, it’s a topic he knows all too well.
The book, which picks up where his 2001 autobiography King of Rock left off, describes what his life has been like since the 2003 murder of group mate Jam Master Jay. Most notably the memoir goes into the emotional effects of the search for his birth mother, which ultimately sent the hip-hop pioneer into a downward spiral of alcoholism and depression.
The New York native credits his decision to seek professional help in 2004 as one of the “best things” a man – specifically black men ― can do for himself.
“When I went to therapy I realized something that most men – I don’t care what race, creed, or color you are, but especially black men – I realized that therapy isn’t ‘soft’,” he told The Huffington Post. “My saying is, ‘Therapy is gangsta.’ It actually empowered me. It allowed me to say things that I thought about, but I would never want to hear myself say those things.”
Mental illness affects approximately 43.8 million American adults each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Black Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems, including depression and suicide, than the general population.
For DMC, sharing his history with mental illness is his way of trying to help others dealing with similar issues.
“If you don’t discuss your mental health and therapy we will keep having this unnecessary cycle of us missing signals, signs and opportunities to eradicate the mental conditions that is brought on because of a continuation of a repeated cycle,” he said. “And we miss the chance to fully diagnose and treat the individuals who have mental health problems. So it’s important that people talk about it.”
“Ten Ways Not Commit Suicide” is now available at book stores and digital retailers.
If you — or someone you know — needs help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.