Mental Health Needs For Black Men And Boys

I noted the quick efforts made in Waukesha to meet the mental health needs of those who were at the Sunday parade, saw the carnage, or heard about it and were shocked by the news. The tragedy was appalling.

I applaud the efforts to deal with emotional trauma by talking with trained experts. I wish more people would avail themselves of such therapy for all sorts of issues in life. Such conversations are very healthy and productive.

At the same time that resources were made available to counsel the folks in Waukesha, it also needs remembering that Black men and boys are needing to have the same comfort zones for their healing due to traumas, such as the Kyle Rittenhouse killings and trial.

If one takes the time to talk or listen to the voices of African-Americans it soon becomes clear that what took place last week with Rittenhouse’s acquittal has made for deep concerns. We have already seen and heard that right-wing elements have elevated Rittenhouse to hero-worship. With such rhetoric, we have also learned that these same conservatives have implied racial injustice protesters should be concerned for their safety in the future. wrote about this issue as it linked to a local news program that addressed the mental health needs of African-Americans following episodes, such as, the Rittenhouse trial.

Alvin Thomas, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the School of Human Ecology at UW-Madison, pointed out that the Rittenhouse case stemmed from protests and demonstrations involving the Black Lives Matter movement.

This was less an issue about black or white and more an issue around humanity,” he said on “UpFront”. In cases like these, Thomas said, there is a high risk for people feeling angry, sad, depressed, and to have flashbacks, nightmares or physical stress responses.

The chasm of resources for mental health needs between Black and white America is profound. It does not take much pondering to see the upside in terms of cost-savings to society along with productivity for individuals if mental health is treated in the same proactive sense as we do a toothache.

A Black elderly man I talked with in Madison after the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha told me that such news was just a reminder that “we” are always waiting for the next shoe to fall and that stress level creates problems for the body.

It is time that we ramp up access to mental health resources in the Black community with the speed that they were correctly made available in Waukesha.

And so it goes.


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