Professor Green visited Kingston University to talk to over 500 KU students on Tuesday about tackling the stigma surrounding mental health.
Speaking at Penrhyn Road and Kingston Hill, the controversial rapper Stephen Manderson, who goes by the stage name Professor Green, highlighted his own battle with depression and anxiety throughout education and adulthood.
“It’s so prevalent. It’s everywhere. People that I would never have imagine that have had an anxious day in their life have come to me and said how crippling it is for them,” said Professor Green. “But for me it’s almost been the driving force. I’ve never wanted to let it beat me.”
The live-streamed event aimed to raise awareness of mental health problems and how common they are. According to YouGov, one in four students suffers from mental health problems.
“Stress exists everywhere yet, as males, we want to pretend like we’re hard, like nothing affects me, you know what I mean?” said Professor Green. “But it’s not practical, we encounter so much stress in our lives we need help with that, there needs to be ways of processing it. Can we not just start looking after each other a little bit better please?”
Instagram user and KU student Syeda, 21, said that the main advice she learnt from the event was to talk about mental health problems.
Kingston University have a wellbeing team on campus and drew attention to this at the start and end of the event for any students who want help whilst studying at university, and said in a statement: “Kingston University is dedicated to providing a range of services to support students with their mental health.”
Student Tabasum Aslam, 20, said: “I really enjoyed attending the event as we got to see a different side to Professor Green and, in general, we got an insight into the lives of other music artists and how they deal with pressure and fame.”
Professor Green is preparing to release his new album later this autumn. He has 2.1 million Twitter followers and 719,000 Instagram followers, which he is using to promote the first track ‘Back on the Market’ from his upcoming album.
KU Talent Team member Tonia Galati held the event and introduced Professor Green as a friend of Kingston University after he announced the winners of KU’s 2016 Talent Awards earlier this year. Prior to the event, she said: “Today is the day Kingston gets ready to be inspired.”
Next year, Professor Green will start filming two new documentaries for BBC 3 and a documentary series for Channel 4.
A spokesperson for the KU Talent Team said: “It was part of an annual series of events where speakers discuss the challenges they have overcome in their life, with the aim of helping to raise students’ aspirations and opening their eyes to the possibilities of what they could achieve.
“Other speakers in KU Talent’s annual series have included Katie Piper, Sir Trevor McDonald and James Cann.”