Were There Signs? Javon Belcher, Katt Williams And Mental Illness

In Memory of Kasandra Perkins.

In Memory of Kasandra Perkins.

As I sat on the bus on the way to work this morning, I wrote out a few goals I wanted to accomplish during my winter break. One of those goals is finding a therapist and permanent mental health care. Although I haven’t been diagnosed, I have been suffering from (what I suspect is) anxiety and depression for a while now. Earlier this year, it got so bad that I ended up withdrawing from classes last semester mere weeks before my final exams. It was bad. I entered temporary individual therapy during the summer and I entered group therapy after the individual was over. Group ended on Monday and now I have to figure out what I want to do to take care of my mental health.

I decided not to go back to group so I’m on the hunt for something outside of GSU and I’m terrified.

Between all of the horror stories I’ve heard and the stigma that comes with mental health issues, dealing with my own stuff has been a struggle. Even writing this blog post and publishing is proving to be quite a task but I am adamant about using my experiences to help others and I think I am honoring that by writing this post. Mental health and illness is something that needs to be discussed especially in light of recent events that have been popping up in the media. I’m sure most of you have heard of Jovan Belcher. That story has been all over the news for the past few days. It has sparked discussions about domestic violence as well as a few murmurs about his potential mental state. Various reports have said Belcher suffered from head injuries due to his pro football career and he had been experiencing relationship issues with his girlfriend and murder victim Kasandra Michelle Perkins. All that aside, I’ve wondered what his mindset was like as he gunned down the mother of his child. As he drove to the his team’s practice facility. As he turned the gun on himself. Then I wonder, were there signs? Could something have been done?

Then I think about another person that has been making media waves for a different reason. I’m sure plenty of you have heard of Katt Williams’ antics that included getting arrested for fighting at a restaurant and slapping a Target employee. Plenty of people, myself included, have joked about it and laughed it off as if this was one of his stand-up routines. But as I thought about these incidents and his behavior, it didn’t seem funny to me anymore. Especially after I saw this video:

It made me really sad. He needs help. His behavior has been dismissed and he has been made into a spectacle but no one seems to be reaching out to him. Even the newscaster dismissed him, calling him “unpredictable” in a flippant tone. Yes, he’s a comedian but he’s also someone’s brother, son and father. That video worries me and it should worry everyone else. As I searched for this video, I scrolled through the comments section and saw this:


I cringed.

Hopefully, Williams will get the help he needs before it’s too late.

As a society, we need to figure out how to handle mental illness. We need to erase the stigma. No one should feel ashamed to seek help nor should they be made into a spectacle when their illness flares up. I suck at conclusions and I’m in my feelings so let me go ahead and just end this post. As usual, I would love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think about these stories? How should society address mental illness? What are your experiences with mental illness?


5 thoughts on “Were There Signs? Javon Belcher, Katt Williams And Mental Illness

  1. Evette Dionne says:

    You are brave for penning this Ashleigh. I am a recovering Agoraphobic and writing about my experiences freed me. I hope this does the same for you and that you find the help you deserve. Xoxo.

  2. Ruth says:

    Im bipolar-manic depressive. I go to therapy but haven’t been in a while. I have gotten into trouble because of my anger and think that people should be helped more. It seems like “regular” people wait until its to late and will watch people crumble.

  3. Dee says:

    Thank you for your honesty. I know the number one barrier to getting help is admitting that you need it.

    I’ve suffered from depression most of my life. I credit a middle school counselor with encouraging me to journal which helps me deal on my own most of the time. Lately, I’ve felt the need to reach out for help again as my load has gotten a bit too heavy to carry on my own. I have been shocked at the difficulty I’ve experienced in finding help. It seems that if you aren’t planning an elaborate suicide, then you aren’t worthy of being helped. Too many of the behavioral health facilities in my city have stated that they aren’t accepting new patients. I know I need help but can’t pay for it and can’t seem to access the free care that is supposed to be available to the public. It’s demoralizing.

  4. Jasmine says:


    I commend you for creating this post and having the guts to post it. I am a 20 y.o. sophomore college student who recently decided to take my mental health into my own hands. I had assumed that I was probably depressed (and have been for the last year and half), but only recently decided to seek professional help. I cannot say what treatment will hold for me, since I am still going through the complete diagnosis process (therapy assessment and psychiatry assessment), however it is my hope that I receive some answers soon and begin to move forward with my depression.

    I just finished up my third semester; and it was a struggle; an extreme struggle. The mental illness has taken an extreme toll on all aspects of my life: self-esteem being and irrational thinking patterns being the major two. Some days I did not want to leave my dorm room.

    It took some time for me to accept that my mental health was in trouble, but I decided that I my longing to get better was greater than my embarassment and fear. I

    I don’t want to ramble, but I would love to connect w. you and talk about it more. Trust that I know your struggle, and the everyday pressures of going to school make it extra hard. Send me an email if you’re interested:jjames1486@yahoo.com

  5. Anonymous says:

    I had a depression episode in college without knowing what was wrong with me. It was really scary. Glad to know that you’re at least aware and proactively getting help. It took some years before I even got a diagnosis (got a name for my pain).

    Therapy helped, but I was shocked at how much a 100% raw food diet eliminated a lot of mental problems. If you can even do a diet with some raw foods, it will help tremendously. I went from being near comatose to incredibly functional.


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