Memoirs of Mental Health: Keke Palmer

I’m pretty sure that Keke Palmer is one of the youngest people whose memoir I’ve read. Today, I’m excited to share some of the insights that I’ve gained from her book, I Don’t Belong to you: Quiet the Noise and Find your Voice.

Mental Health Insights

I believe that a lot of millennials and gen-z folks will resonate with this book as it’s accented with emojis, hashtags, and other visual elements not really seen in memoirs. With that being said, Palmer dives deeply into some great mental health topics.

Identity and Self-Esteem

In my work as a therapist, I’m very aware that most people, no matter their age, struggle with identity and self-esteem issues from time-to-time. Palmer offers great insights about, “separating ourselves from what is no longer useful.” She talks about the enormous pressure that young people feel to compete socially, the expectations to be flawless, and how social media can make all of this even more challenging. “Our worth cannot be based on what others believe, but what we choose to believe.”

Anxiety and Depression

Palmer discusses how there can be generational patterns of depression, anxiety, and trauma, which resonates with me, as I see those trends in my own family. Her perspective is unique because as a child celebrity, she had financial and professional responsibilities that most young people don’t have. She also discusses the stigma that still exists within the Black community with regards to mental health care and professional treatment.

Sexual Trauma

Palmer shares how there was a pattern of generational fear passed down because of sexual trauma that occurred to her grandmother. “Some of the trauma my grandmother suffered as a child had birthed a pattern of using control as a defense mechanism. She passed a lot of her fear and need for control to my mother, who has dealt with general anxiety in one form or another her entire life […] and she unknowingly passed it on to me.” These patterns of shame, fear, and stigma made it difficult for Palmer to make sense of molestation she experienced as a child from a relative and she shares how psychotherapy helped in the healing process.

Therapy and Other Holistic Approaches to Self-Care

I LOVE when I hear a person of color normalizing the importance of mental health treatment. In her book, Palmer discusses how she’s embraced psychotherapy, holistic approaches such as energy work and meditation, yoga, spirituality, and much more. “You need physicals and checkups throughout the year, and that’s the same thing as seeing a therapist regularly if you feel stressed out or just need to talk through issues.”

Other Noteworthy Quotes


This was my third time reading this book and each time, I find more insights that impact how I look at this journey we call life. I highly recommend this book, especially to teens and 20-somethings.

Thanks for reading!

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