“Brother, Let’s Talk” convene to discuss mental health among African-American males

By Chanda Temple

Special to The Birmingham Times

Community activist Ralph Sims, psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Moore, licensed professional counselor Jacques Austin, psychiatrist Dr. Artie Nelson.(Provided Photo)

Birmingham radio personality Chris Coleman will moderate a panel discussion on African-American males and mental health on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Wine Loft, 2200 First Ave. North.

The event is free and open to the public.

The “Brother, Let’s Talk’’ discussion series is a new initiative area African-American mental health experts and community leaders created to address concerns men of color face when it comes to anger, stress, grief and suicide. The Sept. 26 event, which will be the first of several events organizers are planning, is designed to remove the stigma associated with mental health.

“There should be no excuse for a man not to show up for this event’’ said Coleman, director of programming for French Broadcasting V900 WATV and CEO of Chris Coleman Radio Network.

“We are not here to judge. We are here to help.’’

The idea started with Jacques Austin, a licensed professional counselor, and he enlisted the help of other organizers. Austin will be on a panel that includes Birmingham-based community activist Ralph Sims, psychologist Jeffrey Moore and psychiatrist Artie Nelson.

“Our black brothers are struggling daily with a barrage of stressors, such as racism, demeaning stereotypes, police brutality and economic disparities, all of which hit black men and other fellow men of color the hardest in our society,’’ said Nelson. “We’ve created this series to provide an outlet for them to sit among mental health providers, community leaders and peers who look like them, to share their feelings of anger, stress, grief and suicide.”

2015 paper published in the “Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved” found that African-American men suffering from depression “continue to underutilize mental health treatment and have the highest all-cause mortality rates of any racial/ethnic group in the United States.”

Research has also shown that black men who do seek mental health support, regularly face barriers to treatment and often experience mistreatment and misdiagnosis. By hosting the Sept. 26 event, organizers hope to shed more light on resources and competent care to help men of color.

“That is why we are stepping up to encourage black men to raise their voices and to be heard in a welcoming and a nonjudgmental space,’’ said Moore.

Sims added that they want to send the message that mental health matters in communities of color, especially for African-American men. “We need our brothers to get their feelings out so that they may begin the process of healing,’’ Sims said.

For more information, please visit www.brotherletstalk.com