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As the stigma lifts, the concept and understanding of protecting our mental health has finally caught on within the Black community, and now more than ever Black men are making their mental health a priority. Too often Black men are left to deal with shame, guilt, confusion and pain alone. Sometimes knowing that other men have successfully navigated the unyielding ups and downs of life while continuing to find ways to grow and thrive is exactly what we need.
These authors have found a way to address the subject of mental health in relation to the Black community through their own stories of self-discovery. Their works explore the impacts of trauma, violence, depression, anxiety and racism while demonstrating how to make it back to yourself.
Check out this list of books written by Black men that can help you get a better understanding of the importance of prioritizing your mental health.
Heavy is a powerful and honest memoir about growing up under the weight of secrets, abuse, lies and deception. Essayist and novelist Laymon explores the traumas of his past and how deception can alter the entirety of a Black boy’s life.
Cry Like a Man: Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration is the memoir of Jason Wilson, founder of The Yunion, a faith-based non-profit organization that has served youth and families in Detroit for 20 years. Wilson shares his own story of discovering what it means to “be a man” examining the hazards men face as they attempt to interpret “masculinity” for themselves while giving readers hope that real healing is possible.
In Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith accounts his personal and political education as he attempts to come into his own in a world where he is denied humanity. “Smith unapologetically upends reigning assumptions about black masculinity, rewriting the script for black manhood so that depression and anxiety aren’t considered taboo, and feminism and LGBTQ rights become part of the fight.”
Amazon Description: A candid and unfiltered take on some of the most challenging topics that define our times, That Peckham Boy is a personal manifesto exploring what it means to be young, Black and poor in the city. It is shaped by Kenny's difficult childhood, his transformative time in prison, and the people and conversations that took him from being on trial for murder into the company of some of the most successful people in the world.
Amazon Description: In mainstream society depression and mental illness are still somewhat taboo subjects; in the Black community they are topics that are almost completely shrouded in secrecy. As a result, millions of Black men are suffering in silence or getting treatment only in extreme circumstances–in emergency rooms, homeless shelters, and prisons. The neglect of emotional disorders among men in the Black community is nothing less than racial suicide.
In this groundbreaking book, veteran journalist and award-winning author John Head argues that the problem can be traced back to the time of slavery, when it was believed that Black people were unable to feel inner pain because they had no psyche. This myth has damaged generations of African American men and their families, creating a society that blames Black men for being violent and aggressive without considering that depression might be a root cause.
Black Men and Depression challenges the African American community and the psychiatric community to end the suffering of Black men and address what can be done by loved ones to help those who need it most.