Mental Health Literacy & Black Men: A Critical Exploration of Black Male Perspectives”
Depression has been cited as the leading cause of disability globally, affecting more than 300 million people. Much research has been conducted on the topic, yet there is still a dearth of research on mental health among young Black men. Black men are likely to experience greater psychosocial stressors and higher mortality rates than their White counterparts. However, rates of depression among Black men remain consistently lower, with some suggesting that that though less frequent, instances of depression in Black men are more severe. The purpose of this study was to facilitate a discussion of mental health knowledge with Black men. This study aimed to explore their knowledge related to signs/symptoms of mental illness, preventative and self-help measures, mental health resources and mental health first-aid along with the sources of that knowledge. The current study asked how Black men learn about mental health, from whom and how formal knowledge compared to community experience. Findings suggest that the experience of depression is fairly common among young Black men, although the topic is not often directly discussed. Participants expressed that many suffer with depression in silence and work to hide their struggles from others. Regardless of attempts to suppress one's struggles, they may manifest in unexpected ways e.g. anger and acting out linking depression to incarceration rates. Finally, the importance of early and continued mental health support emerged as a significant theme, with participants emphasizing the importance of safety in seeking and accepting help.