How Mental Health Has Affected Various Ethnic Groups
While we preach the importance of inclusion and acceptance within the world of mental health, we still have some work to do. Certain groups of people still don’t have easy access to proper care. Thus, certain people are left without treatment when they really need it. Sometimes they have access to care, it is just not adequate or healthy. While there are plenty of well-intentioned people who are trying to give help where it is needed, it is still something that needs to be addressed. One such underserved group includes men of color, as suicide rates among black males are rising. Suicide was the second-biggest cause of death for African-American men, ages 15 to 24 in 2017. Black adults are also 20% more likely to develop debilitating mental health conditions in their lifetime compared to their white counterparts. The black community in America has always faced unique challenges, while the rest of the country remains oblivious. Our society and programs have created an unfair system for anyone who is not white to navigate and succeed in. These problems create new types of mental health challenges. Racism, mass incarceration, police brutality—all of these things are prevalent in our country and adversely affect the people most impacted by them. Society has stacked the cards against them, and we have to do some work to help change that. Luckily, there is work being done, especially by a group called Black Men Heal.
The Power of Healing, Available for Everyone
Black Men Heal is a non-profit organization in Philadelphia that offers free mental health treatment to men of color. As their mission statement puts it, they “provide mental health treatment, psycho-education, and community resources to men of color.” The whole thing was created with a vision of overcoming three massive obstacles for men of color: cost, stigma, and cultural competency. As is the case with any male, black men feel pressured to follow certain gender norms and stereotypes. They believe they must conform to specific stigmas around masculinity. This applies to black men as well, and as a result, many of them suffer in silence for fear of being vulnerable. Black Men Heal (BMH) aims to help men break down those fears and allow themselves to express their vulnerability. BMH also teaches them to encourage their peers to do so as well. This program helps the issue of cultural competency by bringing on experienced and licensed clinicians of color. These physicians are matched with a patient who will feel understood by them. These men often want to have a professional who will connect with them and understand them on a personal level. Black Men Heal works hard to ensure that is the case with every single patient. Finally, BMH provides eight free sessions of therapy. For those who struggle with finances and insurance coverage, eight free sessions are a lot. Even just a few sessions can go a long way towards improving mental health.
The Value of Safe Spaces and Vulnerability
Creating a safe space for these men to talk about their problems is a huge step in continuing to spread awareness of mental health. Programs like BMH do great work in de-stigmatizing mental health, especially in marginalized communities. Sometimes, all it takes is one person setting an example for others. While this program is localized in Philadelphia now, we hope that it can be an example for others to follow. In time, programs like this may even be able to expand their reach with the proper support and funding. It is also open to all men, even though it is geared towards men of color, and they will even offer help for women as well. They are dedicated to breaking down the stigmas around men, specifically in the world of mental health.
We have to continue to spread these messages of safety and vulnerability. We have to make sure that people know they are not wrong for needing help, and that they are welcome to come to us. The world of mental health will continue to grow and break down those stigmas, but we can’t become complacent with watching others do the work. We must be inspired by them and pick up the torch in our own area. For men who feel afraid of speaking up: you are safe, you are welcome, and you are loved by us.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]