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Psychiatrist Speak On Vybz Kartel Mental Health In Prison, Aidonia Sparks A Conversation

Vybz Kartel and Shawn Storm

A clinical professional weighs in on Vybz Kartel’s mental health amidst Aidonia’s speculation that the incarcerated deejay is not well.

It’s sad to say that people have grown so indifferent to mental illness that they often label others as victims of it as a first resort for their clap backs these days. Almost as if it’s a growing trend, even entertainers today throw around the associated terms loosely, often calling their peers mentally ill when they don’t agree or can’t understand the logic behind something they might do or say.

Recently, Meek Mill and 21 Savage quickly blamed the cause for Chicago producer Young Chop dissing them on mental illness, as if there could be no other reason. Similarly, Aidonia had the same theory when Vybz Kartel called him out on Instagram recently, but the clinical director for Psychotherapy Associates, Dr. Geoffrey Walcott, says it’s a pretty premature determination.

Speaking to the STAR on Aidonia’s speculation about the incarcerated deejay, Dr. Walcott says without proper evaluation, the statement is simply unjust. “Part of the difficulty with our society is that we tend to jump to conclusions quite easily without much investigation. For you to have a mental disorder requires trained specialists to sit down and go through a carefully crafted series of interviews and evaluations,” he explained. “That, at most, can take up to two hours. It cannot be something you ascribe to someone because you are seeing something that’s ‘out of character.'”

Aidonia’s assumption came from the idea that Vybz Kartel was trying to go to battle for a crown he already wears. Though his concern for the deejay is understandable, his justification of it is still unfounded. Some even wonder if he would still think this had Kartel not indirectly called him out of his name. Dr. Walcot went on to explain what should actually be done if someone was genuinely concerned about an inmate’s mental state, and announcing that they “must be mentally ill” on Instagram is not on the list.

“If you’re having concerns, then those concerns should be voiced through the proper channels. I know the penal system has mental health practitioners who provide care for persons in their facilities and, therefore, the appropriate referrals should be made,” he said. “I don’t think a public outing is the best thing to do. It carries with it high levels of stigmatization without going through the proper process and investigation.”

Artiste manager Richard Roache also weighed in on the ordeal. While he agreed that Vybz Kartel is one of the greatest artists to ever come out of Jamaica and needs not defend what is universally understood, he also told the STAR that the deejay’s activity online is nothing out of the ordinary. “What he has done for the decade, more or less, has held his name and maintained his stature behind bars,” he said about the dancehall mogul. “He has already made his mark on dancehall as one of the greats and nothing or no one can take that away from him – that legacy is locked.”

He went on to imply that Instagram has simply become a place for trolling and taking shots, and unlike other artists, it’s the only outlet that Vybz Kartel has. That being said, it makes Aidonia’s claims even more unfounded. “There has been a shift. Over the past couple of years, there has been a decline of platforms to showcase that (confrontations),” the artiste manager told the STAR. “Of course, you have artistes’ flinging jabs’ at each other through music in an effort to maintain that mainstream appeal and stay relevant. But one of the main platforms holding that up was Sting, where people looked forward to see who would have the best lyrical comebacks. It died out.”

Vybz Kartel has taken several shots at several artists online recently, and it might be hard for some to admit that the heat was beyond what they could handle. I see nothing but calculated moves here from the Teacha and reducing that to mental illness is what should be called out. We’re not entirely sure that the penitentiary where Vybz Kartel is being held has a resident clinical psychologist, but do we really think the deejay needs one because his less successful counterparts say so?

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