Still human: Pete Davidson and Kid Cudi talk about their mental health

Whenever we common folk gaze upon Hollywood’s elite, we can’t help but assume they lead the happiest of lives, as a result of their tremendous wealth and millions of admirers. However, many of the cultural icons we look up to suffer from the same everyday struggles as the common man, with their mental health often being under greater stress due to the pressures brought on by fame.

Unlike us, it is much harder for entertainers to open up about their depression as they are considered to be the standards of perfection. However, two artists who have been very open about their battles with depression and drug abuse have been rapper Kid Cudi and actor Pete Davidson.

Cudi’s music has long been celebrated by those suffering from mental health disorders, as his 2009 album “Man on the Moon: The End of Day”, is considered to be one of the first open discourses on depression in the rap genre. The vulnerability Cudi shows in songs like “Sound Track 2 My Life” and “Cudi Zone” is something that is rarely seen by anyone in an industry that expects nothing short of perfection. In many ways, Kid Cudi opened the door for rappers such as Lil Uzi Vert and the late Juice Wrld whose music often depicts their struggles with mental health as well.

Kid Cudi performing during the 2015 Pemberton Music Festival at Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada. (Pemberton Music Festival)

In 2016 Cudi told the world via Facebook that he would be attending rehab in order to fight his depression and suicidal thoughts.

“My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it,” Cudi wrote. “… It’s time I fix me.”

Since his rehab stint in 2016, Cudi has become one of the most prominent mental health advocates in the music industry, paving the way for countless other artists to begin opening up about their struggles as well.

However, it is far easier to express yourself through the art of music than it is as an actor. This is especially true for men in the film industry who are often portrayed as possessing all of the testosterone-fueled traits and confidence expected of men in our society. However, actor and comedian Pete Davidson paints a far different picture of what means to be an actor in the film industry.

While you most likely know Pete Davidson as that guy who was engaged to Ariana Grande for several months, he has been a long time SNL cast member and recently released a fictional biopic titled, “The King of Staten Island”. Davidson, whose father died in the aftermath of 9/11, has long been open about his drug use and suicidal thoughts, often going into great detail about his stints at rehab.

Pete Davidson (left) and Bill Burr (right) watch a minor league baseball game in “The King of Staten Island.” (NBC-Universal)

In a 2019 interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God, Davidson detailed how depression is something that is inescapable for him, and that fame has only made it worse.

“I’m much more insecure, much more unsure of myself than I’ve ever been,” Davidson said. “I’m also just embarrassed. … It sucks, dude. I’m not going to lie. In order for me to go out, I have to plan it.”

Like many struggling with depression, Davidson and Cudi have been able to find a safe space through their craft. For Cudi, his music has allowed him to express these feelings, as well as to help those who are sharing the same experiences. Davidson, on the other hand, continues to struggle with his mental health, having returned to rehab as early as this year. However, he too is taking steps to better his condition, now working with therapists and other professionals to make sure he does what he can to avoid harming himself or those around him.

While Davidson and Cudi may still struggle with the anxiety and depression, they have both played a crucial role in normalizing discussion surrounding the challenges of mental health. It is through their willingness to open up and become vulnerable that they are not only able to reduce the stigma surrounding depression, but show us that there is no such thing as perfection.