Editor’s Note: SE Cupp is a CNN political commentator. The views expressed in this commentary are solely hers. View more opinion on CNN.

CNN  — 

Jalen Rose, the prolific sports analyst and NBA veteran, describes his podcast “Renaissance Man” as a “lifestyle & culture” conversation “covering the latest trends in fashion, entertainment, travel, food & wine, technology and more.”

It’s certainly all those things. Each episode features an interview with guests like chef Kwame Onwuachi on learning to cook, Magic Johnson on mentorship, Dionne Warwick on her morning routine and more.

SE Cupp.

But to categorize “Renaissance Man” as merely a “lifestyle & culture podcast” is to vastly understate its substantive contribution to a much bigger, incredibly important and often-neglected conversation on mental health.

Rose’s December 2 episode features a brave and searingly honest interview with Charlamagne Tha God, the hugely popular radio host, TV personality and arbiter of cultural and political influence.

It’s practically a public service announcement on the importance of transparency with mental health, and it’s one that everyone should hear. In the episode, Charlamagne shares that he had been dealing with panic attacks and anxiety for years before he got help. “I started going to therapy in 2016,” he says, “because I was losing it.”

That someone with Charlamagne’s reach has taken up the mantle of mental health advocate – a role he said he initially resisted – and championed the importance of therapy will do wonders to break the stigma of mental illness that for years has transcended color, gender, class and generational barriers.

An increasing number of public figures, from Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to former First Lady Michelle Obama, have opened up about their mental health. And in the last year, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and Meghan Markle – all women of color, notably – have contributed to a shift in our culture by sharing their important struggles with the world.

If the Covid-19 pandemic gave us anything good, it was permission – finally – to talk more candidly about how we are feeling. Headlines covered the challenge of burnout, the trauma frontline workers face, the effects of social isolation and increased incidents of anxiety and depression.

Amid this global upheaval, it became more okay to not be okay – and mental health increasingly became a topic of conversation among friends and in schools and workplaces. Therapists saw a rush of new patients, as some colleges and employers scrambled to provide resources.

This is all good – but stigmas around mental health persist and resources aren’t always affordable or accessible, especially in communities of color.

It’s still all too rare to hear men, especially men of a certain age, discuss mental health honestly and without shame. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 6 million men are affected by depression in the United States every year, and suicide is a leading cause of death among men.

And yet men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health, and less likely to self-report depression. (Research shows that subscribing to traditional notions of masculinity, characterized by stoicism, aggression and dominance, for example, can be harmful to both physical and mental health.)

And while rates of mental illness in African Americans are similar to those of the general population, they often receive poorer quality of care and lack access to culturally competent care, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

In his conversation with Rose, Charlamagne said he realized, with Taraji P. Henson’s help, that advocating for mental health is what he wanted his life’s work to be. “I want to help Black people heal, especially Black men,” he told Rose.

And over the last few years, Charlamagne has indeed broached essential subjects, including the impact of his father’s harmful view of masculinity, the trauma of systemic racism and the flawed idea that success in his career would ease his anxiety. Charlamagne’s conversation with Rose is a continuation of that work – and a byproduct of progress in our society.

Having been through my own mental health battles recently, I know firsthand just how important these revelations are.

In my much smaller circle of influence, I’ve learned that being honest about my struggle with anxiety is more helpful than I can know. When I admitted this summer that I was not okay and was getting help for that, I received hundreds of emails, texts and messages from friends, colleagues and total strangers who all said that they were dealing with similar issues. The relief was mutual – we all learned we were not alone.

Then, a magical thing happened. We started sharing our experiences, our battles, our tips and tricks. The world that opened up to me was life-changing. Now, I can’t believe I ever moved through my day-to-day thinking crippling anxiety was normal, or that I had to do it all silently and on my own.

As a result, I’ve become aggressively honest and unashamed. I’ve taken to starting sentences on Twitter with “My therapist says” before sharing her excellent advice on everything from reducing social media triggers to parenting with less guilt.

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    Normalizing conversations about mental health is so important, especially when there are plenty of public figures who are still dismissive and derisive about people struggling with mental health.

    Charlamagne has an important message that I hope everybody gets the chance to hear, and I’m so grateful someone like Jalen Rose is giving him and others the platform to share it.