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Milwaukee leaders host 'Men's Health Night,' discuss mental health among African American men

Posted at 10:25 PM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 23:25:23-04

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee community leaders came together Friday to empower men to become more aware of their mental, physical and emotional health, while also telling them that it's OK to ask for help.

"We have to save ourselves. We cannot wait for anybody to come save us," said Clem Richardson, pastor of Kingdom Empowered Ministries​.

It's a mission that's close to Richardson's heart: helping Black men in the community pay more attention to their health.

"We're bringing solutions and we're bringing love and we're bringing information," said Pastor Richardson.

That's why he and other leaders of faith, as well as community organizations, got together to host a 'Men's Health Night.' They talked about stress, mental health, and other issues that aren't typically discussed among men.

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"As men we are taught to be strong, to not cry​. A lot of times we take on a lot of things and we just hold that stuff, and without being able to get it out," said Robert Jackson, CEO of Raising the Bar.

There was plenty of fellowship and some tough conversations.

"The stigma is if you talk about your mind or if there are some issues, then you're considered crazy. We're trying to figure out how do we bring those barriers," said Bashir Easter, the assistant director of the 'All of Us' research program​.

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According to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Black men are four times more likely to die by suicide than Black women.

"You kind of suppress a lot of things that you feel, and when they do ultimately come out, they come out in the wrong way. They come out in a violent way, they come out in a substance abuse way," said Unity Gospel House of Prayer Church​ senior pastor, Marlon Lock.

Which is why leaders say it's critical that these types of conversations continue to happen in the community.

"It's going to take us men. It's going to take us men coming together to have these conversations and say, tell me why you're not talking about these issues," said Easter.

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