Black men are in the crosshairs of two separate disorders that tend to converge: mental illness and substance abuse.
With the added complications of racism and the Covid-19 pandemic, rates of Black men with one or both conditions are reaching crisis levels.
“If you take into account everything that’s happening between racial injustice and the state of politics, and just the microaggressions and macroaggressions in this country, African American men are having a tough time,” said Joel. K. Johnson, President and CEO of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC).
They are also not getting the help they need.
In 2018, 58% of Blacks ages 18-25 and 50% of Blacks ages 26-49 with serious mental illness did not receive treatment, according to data retrieved from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What’s more, almost 90% of Black people over 12 with a substance use disorder did not get treatment either.
Late last year, Black Men’s Health held a virtual discussion about these issues with Johnson, a leader in the behavioral health services space. In a forum titled “Black Men Mental Health Matters,” Johnson talked about why Black men don’t seek treatment. he also discussed why it’s important to form meaningful friendships.
Johnson, a graduate of Florida A&M University and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., spoke about how his experiences shaped his career.
Getting people the help they need comes with a larger, overarching goal.
“If we can help people access treatment,” he said, “We can stabilize these families and keep these families together.”
To watch more of this illuminating and important discussion, hit the YouTube video below.