Last Saturday, Lorenzo Lewis discussed success and how mental health plays a vital role in black men. Lewis spoke about losing his father at a young age and how he was unable to talk to anyone about. In 2009, his mother passed away due to sudden health issues and he was heavily affected by the
trauma of such a second massive loss. It took Lewis longer than expected to finish his undergraduate tenure after his mother’s passing. Lewis transferred from University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to Arkansas Baptist College where he became a standout student. Lewis obtained a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Webster University where he was ranked in the top percentile of his graduating class.
What are the serious mental health disorders affecting African American males? According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. Common mental health disorders among African Americans include:
African Americans are also more likely to experience certain factors that increase the risk for developing a mental health condition:
Homelessness. People experiencing homelessness are at a greater risk of developing a mental health condition. African Americans make up 40% of the homeless population.
Exposure to violence increases the risk of developing a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. African American children are more likely to be exposed to violence than other children.
Next we discussed PTSD or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder which is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. When completing a self-reflective exercise, some of our mentees told the group how family member’s death impacted their lives. Example, one mentee stated that his uncle was killed and that made him feel sad and sharing helped ease the pain.
The second small group exercise allowed the young men to work together with a 100 member to discuss a situation. This is similar to the case studies we present in Pharmacy school. So mentees, remember Camden and Marquese and their situation. How would you handle their situation and what would you differently.
The Confess Project is an innovative experience that is intended to expose other marginalized males to coping methods and teach soft skills that will lead to them to a more powerful presence in society. Lewis hopes to impact masses of young men across the world with his approach and innovative project.
This Saturday we will be going to the football game. UAPB vs. Southern University at War Memorial Stadium at 2:00pm.
Meet us there at our tent.