Just Heal, Bro: The Black Men’s Mental Health Tour

Feb 29, 2024News
Attendees at Just Heal, Bro

On Sunday, February 18, more than 150 Black men from our city filled the Foundation’s Center for Health Equity, converting the day into a sacred space of healing, brotherhood, community, and support. In an affinity space reserved exclusively for Black men, they shared. They listened. They linked arms. They spoke about healing. The afternoon was part of the national Just Heal, Bro Black men’s mental health tour, which the Foundation was honored to sponsor and host for our community.

Driven by an uptick in depression and suicide rates among Black males, the tour has visited dozens of cities over the past two years. It’s led by a rotating panel of Black male influencers and leaders including authors, coaches, therapists, actors, and faith leaders, and more, with programming that’s designed to help Black men:

  • Find strength in vulnerability and mental/emotional healing through education and community
  • Strengthen emotional development and cultivate tools for resiliency
  • Foster brotherhood and community
  • Further healing journeys through culturally responsive solutions

The space was affirming, opening, welcoming, and diverse‚Äďa breath of fresh air where I didn’t feel like I had to present or posture in a certain expectation of masculinity. I could just be, and that is something rare.
-Patrick A. Jackson, local producer, actor, and non-profit professional

 

There was comfort in being vulnerable, and that surprised me. A lot of times, in that type of environment, you’re more prone to put on your more macho persona. As men, we’re taught to show no weakness, especially if you’re a leader in any capacity. The event really taught me not to do that and gave us tools on how to show our hurt without appearing weak. And that’s what made it powerful.
-Cranstan Cumberbatch, CEO of Dreammakerz Productions

 

To see all walks of life that normally wouldn’t engage in mental health conversation was beyond dope and, for myself, was an eye-opener. A solid brotherhood of Black men with a cross-section of life experiences and ages ranging from 15 to 80 was beyond powerful. We all must truly be our brother’s keeper moving forward to build a true brotherhood in St Pete.
-Harold Byrant Jr., Foundation Community Experience Coordinator

Click here to see photos from the event.

Overall, suicide rates among Black people are lower than among White people in the U.S. However, the Center for Disease Control and other organizations have highlighted a significant and troubling rise in Black male suicide in recent years, signaling a public health crisis for this population. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey, too, revealed that suicide attempts for Black adolescents are also on the rise.

Mental health and wellness for Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) is a 2023-2024 strategic priority for the Foundation. To see results from our local research scan on the topic, click here.

Just Heal, Bro is produced by Hope Allen of Living Hope Productions, in partnership with mental health therapist Jay Barnett.

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