On stage, he’s Rudy Rude, singing lyrics like:

“This is the only way

I can enter that token

To express my emotion.

The beast in me

Has finally woken.”

The stage name and persona have given a soft-spoken 24-year-old, who grew up as Rodolfo Lino, an outlet to explore his creative persona. Over the last couple of years, they have helped Mr. Lino find his footing after years of struggling with depression and agoraphobia.

“I let people know, though my music, about my life,” he said. “I talk about my struggle and other people struggling.”

Mr. Lino used to experience surges of panic and nausea when he was in crowded places, especially subways. “All of a sudden, my heart’s beating fast, I’m getting all nervous and sweaty, and then my hands get numb,” he said.

In school, instead of focusing on lessons, he would envision humiliating scenarios, like tripping in front of his classmates.

He was never able to explain what was going on to his family. He became a loner, playing with Rubik’s cubes and Legos. He spent many hours watching anime, reading comic books (he prefers Marvel), following sports and tinkering with computer hard drives.

His older brother, whom Mr. Lino called his idol, pushed him to dabble in music, writing songs and encouraging Mr. Lino to perform them.

But in high school, Mr. Lino’s mental health issues escalated and he stopped going to class. He would spend days on park benches, listening to music on headphones and drowning out the world. Sometimes he had to deal with police officers; other times he coped with boredom.

“When my phone died, that would be the worst,” he said. “I used to just sleep.”

Eventually, Mr. Lino’s mother learned he was skipping school, and he began seeing a therapist when he was 17. Since then, he has taken major strides to mitigate his condition.

Attending night classes, Mr. Lino graduated high school when he was 20. In 2016, he was referred to East New York Clubhouse, which offers support services to adults with mental illness. The program is run by Brooklyn Community Services, one of eight organizations supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.

Socializing at Clubhouse forced Mr. Lino to come out of his shell. He met two others who share his passion and write about their depression and the ways that music elevates them. They collaborate in the Clubhouse’s library.

“Every week or every day, we come up with something new,” Mr. Lino said. “We help each other, we motivate each other.”

The trio has performed at the Clubhouse during functions and parties.

While sharing his music makes Mr. Lino feel creatively vulnerable, when he is rapping, signs of his shyness and anxiety depart. He projects a guttural voice, with lyrics to match, and rocks slightly. The swaying is deliberate, rhythmic, not from trembling or fidgeting.

“When I’m making music, I’m expressing myself,” Mr. Lino said. “I’m giving my all.”

He is enrolled at LaGuardia Community College and expects to earn his associate degree in computer technology this spring. Afterward, he hopes to find a job and pursue a bachelor’s degree at the New York City College of Technology.

Brooklyn Community Services used $500 in Neediest funds to pay for a suit for Mr. Lino to wear on job interviews. It is being fitted and custom made by J. Mueser, a shop that works with the Clubhouse’s Transitional Employment program, helping adults living with mental illness acquire workplace skills.

Mr. Lino continues to create songs, hoping to inspire and motivate anyone who hears them. In one called “Nightshine,” he describes looking up at the sky with certainty that he’s going to make it.

“Recognize” focuses on ignoring the toxic influence of people who want to see you fail. And another, “I’m Grown,” expresses his desire to provide for himself.

Donations to the Neediest Cases may be made online, or with a check or over the phone.

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