Protector, leader, strong, Sexy, fighter. These are some of the names I think about when I describe THE BLACK MAN. We all know that in a black household black boys are raised differently than black girls. When you’re a gentleman, you can’t show emotion. You have to do what you need to do for the sake of you and your family. Being considered the head of a household the black man can’t really complain. I even find myself telling my own son “shut up stop complaining, you’re a man ain’t you”. Or I’ll say ” toughen up you alright ain’t you”. But what exactly am I teaching him? We as women literally fight with adult black men to show emotion or open up to us. But some women would straight up clown a man when he does…
Did you know in America, 18.6 % of black men walk around with a mental health issue? Another 16.9% are the ones to get treatment. Let’s face it some black men didn’t grow up knowing about therapy or counseling. Some were misdiagnosed as being just a “bad kid” or more psychological issues. When black boys were maybe going through the same things as other cultures.
I asked someone very close to me if he experienced mental health issues. He asked to remain anonymous, and I’m going to respect that. Here’s what he had to say:
A stereotype I’m used to seeing and hearing about Black men, specifically, Black queer and gay men is that we are a threat to Black men’s masculinity and a shame to the Black community. That we’re a danger to children and don’t deserve to exist.
A dark time in my life was questioning my sexual orientation as a teenager and feeling alone in that struggle because of how the present church was in my life. I had always been told that being gay was an abomination and to never accept something so disgusting to God. There were times when I thought that no longer being here would be better to spare myself the pain and not to disappoint my family. However, I continued to pray to God to guide me on my life path – to be who I’m destined to be. Continuous prayer and realizing that I was never alone kept me here.
I do believe that mental health issues exist among Black men because they exist in every demographic, no matter your race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, or religion. Although mental health isn’t talked about much in the Black community, it does not mean that there are not issues our community faces.
The development of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are known to be the result of genetics and environment. Some people are more likely to develop anxiety and depression if there is a history of it in their family, but they can also be developed because of the circumstances in your life. Issues like police brutality, unemployment, and constant high stress can also spark mental issues.
I believe that men, especially Black men, are afraid to seek help for mental health issues because of the toxic culture of masculinity that teaches men that being vulnerable and in tune with emotions is feminine or weak. Rejecting the discussion of life’s struggles and not being honest often leads to more problems, like intense sadness, isolation, and toxic relationships.
I’m not going to lie when I read his interview I was angry. Angry at my black community, that we as a whole, has let down the black man. My brother once told me in a joking way. Most men are not willing to tell their problems because women will down them more. Me being so pro- black women. I literally stood up for us. Saying that it’s not true……but is it?
Being a black woman, I know that we can sometimes hit below the belt & be mean which is horrible. If we feel that a man is not doing the things WE think they should be doing, it all goes down. We as women need to stop that. Downing them doesn’t make the situations any better. But if we can motivate and lift them up, maybe their situations can get better. Since we can’t change the community unless we change ourselves I’ve started to do things differently. I usually ask my male friends how are they doing. Leaving the conversation open for us to talk about anything. Also letting them know that I am here if they need some help.
Comment below & let me know how do you show support for your fellow male friend whos going through their mental health. And men how do you deal with your mental health.