Top Radio Personalities Give a Voice to Mental Health (3:46)
When you wind down after a long day and retreat to your personal space, the voices of radio DJs may be the only thing that keeps you company. DJs not only play our favorite music, they also answer listeners’ questions, solve listeners’ problems, and even open up about their own personal struggles. Three of America’s favorite DJs, Charlamagne tha God, Delilah, and Elvis Duran came on The Dr. Oz Show on Nov. 8, 2019 to talk about the responsibility they have to their listeners, the most rewarding aspects of their jobs, and how they handle challenging personal issues around mental health. Here are some of their best tips for coping with stress, anxiety, and tragedies that come up throughout life.
How to Deal With Social Media
“You have to know that on social media, everybody's highlight reel. Nobody's showing the mistakes that they're making, nobody's showing the hard times,” says Charlamagne. He says it’s key to remember the reality of the situation — that just because the darker times aren’t shown doesn’t mean they’re not there. Both Charlamagne and Duran turn off and put away their phones when they’re on vacation. Vacation with a phone isn’t the same as really unplugging and reconnecting with yourself.
For parents, Delilah suggests they get their kids involved in extracurricular activities aside from just picking up their phones. “It's so detrimental when you live in this artificial world on a device instead of having a real relationship. So that's what my girls play volleyball and they play basketball and my kids have been involved in choir,” she says.
Find Self-Love Within, Not Online
According to Charlamagne, the problem with social media is that most people are seeking validation from it. He uses his platform to emit positive energy instead of absorbing the negative comments he may come across from having such a popular account. “You have to have validation within yourself first,” he says. “So I use [social media] to [discuss] mental health. I share daily affirmations, things that I know will come across people's timeline and it'll make them feel positive.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Discuss The Difficult Subjects
All of the DJs shared an experience they’ve had personally with suicide. Delilah lost her son to suicide when he was just 18 years old, and wants to make sure no other family goes through what she did. Charlamagne lost his cousin over the holidays in 2018, and Duran lost his close friend to suicide about a year ago.
“We're scared to talk about suicide. It's as simple as that,” says Duran. “We assume people are okay. You look at Charlamagne over here, you go, ‘Oh, he's got a successful career on radio. He's got a great family. He's fine.’ I don't know if [he’s actually] okay.”
“It's okay not to be okay. That's the bottom line,” says Charlamagne.
Suicide Red Flags and Warning Signs
According to the CDC, suicide warning signs include:
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Looking for a way to access lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
For more tips and information on how to support yourself and those around you who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, there are resources available.