Hip-hop is helping to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health, according to two Cambridge University doctors.

Dr Akeem Sule and Dr Becky Inkster are behind Hip Hop Psyche, a social venture that draws connections between mental health and hip-hop music.

In a new paper published in BMJ Opinion, the pair highlight how the music genre is helping those struggling with their mental health.

"Hip-hop can be a vehicle to tackle stigma around mental health and address cultural imbalances. Hip-hop connects with hard-to-reach groups, particularly men within the Black community," they write.

"Underrepresented communities are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems, and they are more likely to experience worsened mental health outcomes. This is, in part, due to socioeconomic disparities. They are also less likely to use mental health services. Stigma around mental health issues is prevalent in underserved communities and it is a significant barrier to accessing health services.

"Discrimination, bias, and a lack of cultural competence from healthcare professionals can also lead to unmet needs, late presentation of symptoms, and poorer quality of care."

Among the artists and songs they list are The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Drop the World by Lil Wayne featuring Eminem, JAY-Z's 4:44, and Man on the Moon by Kid Cudi.

"Since the genre's conception almost 50 years ago, hip-hop's progressive narratives have increasingly spoken up about mental health and there is no denying that it is helping to tackle stigma," the authors added.

"Hip-hop artists are speaking candidly through their art form, and it may be helping people around the world to acknowledge their own inner struggles."

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