Focusing the lens on trauma relating to black male mental health

 

“Not enough people are talking about the reopen wounds. No ones talking about how black men suffer from PTSD just by living,” said Amber Green.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Data from Mental Health America indicates that over 16% of the African American community suffers from some sort of mental illness. “If we’re not taking care of each other and the larger society isn’t taking care of each other, we don’t stand a chance. We’ve been at the bottom of the totem poll for the entire existence of this country,” said Lamont Hairston.

As the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder came early this week, many are still traumatized by the incident. Local community leaders,  like Amber Green with Fenix Youth Project tell me mental trauma is one key area that often goes untreated.

“No one is talking about how that trauma is being relived over and over again and there’s no way you can heal in the same environment that cause the pain and trauma,” said Green.

Green adds that trauma and health effects can be seen in many areas. “Now into police shootings, into poverty, healthcare, high blood pressure, heart disease, and after all that, now you have to add suicide,” said Green.

Lamont Hairston is the creator of the L.I.N.S App,  which is an application that allows people to review their interactions with police officers.  He says stigma still exists around getting treatment and the lack of black men seeking health care in general is deeply rooted. ‘We still have to keep this exterior because the situation hasn’t changed for us in the country. So we have to be tough in every spectrum we’re in and that’s another added stress right there,” said Hairston.

Hairston is also a father. He says with the current state of the world, kids are now being robbed of their chance to just be kids and that his own 13 year-old son now has a new reality. “He has to be prepared and that’s sad. He’s supposed to be playing around, video gaming, getting sweaty, making mistakes, and coming home but that’s not his reality. So me and my wife have to train him early,” said Hairston.

That’s why Green says its more important now that ever to reach out, which could be as simple as opening up the conversation. “We need to ask ‘Hey are you fine?’ They may respond that they are fine. We need to be asking are you mentally well? Are you mentally okay? And just not making that taboo,” said green.

Green also adds that more community outreach groups need to be added to the area to help those suffering. Advocates also say that admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness,  but a sign of strength.

Categories: Health, Local News