A person has to remember that the road to success is always under construction… It is not easy becoming successful.Steve Harvey
Our inaugural Let’s Talk Cafe Live on August 30, 2020 and Listening Circle on September 2, 2020 created a platform to discuss the barriers men experience in their lives, and a need for pathways to guide their journey along the way.
Key Issues Men Experience with Mental Health
Men continue to experience stigma associated with mental health, which can lead to men not wanting to deal with their mental health, and not discussing treatment. Many times, men experience shame with their mental health and they feel they can’t talk about their experiences. Men also shared that when they are ready to seek services, they are unsure of where to go to for support.
In Black communities, faith and religion is a strong component of their belief systems. In church, they teach young men that God is your Father. However, within the institution, many Black men experience trauma in the church. The church can also oppress people and suppress their abilities to seek support. The church can also view mental health challenges as “demonic”, which diverts from Black men from seeking help, but creates an experience where they feel that something is wrong with me.
For Black men… [it is] rooted in how you were brought up, fear of organized structured, being promiscuous, gambling, substance use– how would acknowledge that you have a problem? ….Men don’t always like to be told what to do, and don’t want others to put it up, need to change those organized structure.Let’s Talk participants shared
Introducing….Men’s Talk an open-support group for fathers and father figures focusing on healthy relationships, sex, identity, mental health, fatherhood and parenting, love and affection, intergenerational trauma, abuse and healing. Interested in learning more and joining us? Contact us
How does anti-Black racism affect our Black men?
We are used to seeing the statistics on Black men. We are familiar with the headlines. But how do these experiences impact Black men? How does anti-Black racism in the forms of systemic barriers, zero tolerance programs, surveillance, gaslighting, criticism, negative comments and experiences, unfair suspensions, and more influence and affect our men.
- Let’s talk about substance use- our men use substances (alcohol, marijauna) to address emotional pain, anxiety, trauma and depression. Many of these challenges are never addressed formally.
- High surveillance by police and engagement in the criminal justice system can lead to experiences of anxiety, disengagement, and lack of motivation.
- Black men often feel that they are in a pressure cooker. They have to worry and manage responsibilities, and deal with the experiences of anti-Black racism.
- The experience of anti-Black racism can influence men to become short tempered, reduce caring for their bodies and appearance, and lead to inconsistencies in their behaviour.
- Men identify that they can experience difficulties in many areas of their lives, from dealing with finances to their family situation. Sometimes the stress associated with these difficulties are too much. Men do not feel they have the skills to deal with these stressors, and many times do not know where to start.
“It is normal for men to not deal with it, the world tells them that they are supposed to be tough, Black men … stereotypes [them] as dangerous and violent, and [further alienates them from] … seeking out help or adjusting [their behaviour]A participant
Healing is a Journey
Our participants shared their knowledge and experiences on what helped them manage their experiences and build greater balance in their lives. Some strategies they shared was connecting with other men and developing healthy bonds and relationships. Cultivating safe relationships. Engaging in self-discovery and exploration. Becoming aware of self, and how your experiences have shaped you both for hardening and softening. Being patient with yourself and with others. Learning to address feeling judged, and turning judgement into learning opportunities to grow.
Self-help– comes from yourself– we all know our worth, and what we want for ourselves- I grew up in a Caribeean household that was liberal, my evolution came when I decided to do what is work for myself, and myself as a being– Black men need to decide what society and media tells us to be and figure out what we need to be for [ourselves]– need to ghost myself to do my own self discovery then that is what it will takeLet’s Talk Participant
Interested in more? Kujenga Wellness Project works in collaboration with organizations, Black-led businesses, and Black therapists to provide grounded, culturally-informed approaches to well-being, healing and growth. Contact Us Today.