African American men work to break the stigma around mental health with ‘Brother Let’s Talk’

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — There are growing concerns that African American men could be experiencing more mental health problems because of injustice, police brutality, crime, and other issues affecting the community.

A group of Birmingham health professionals is holding a discussion session called Brother Let’s Talk to address some of these concerns. Licensed Counselor Jacques L. Austin says they are bringing mental health professionals into the community to break down the stigma around mental health and treatment.

“The initial conversation is, let’s stop the stigma,” Austin said. “Let’s find out what’s going on, what’s the reason we are not opening up and we’re suppressing a lot of the emotion.”

The Brother Let’s Talk session is a men’s only conversation that will be held in a barbershop, a place considered a safe haven for many black men. Psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Moore says the audience and the location are intentional.

“We know that when most men of color have to talk about whatever issue, football, anything going on at home, they are going to come to the barbershop,” Moore said. “So, we decided we wanted to come directly to the barbershop and address some of these issues. So, we are going to talk about grief, loss, suicide and other issues men of color deal with right in the barbershop.”

Brother Let’s Talk will be held this Sunday, Oct. 8th at 3 p.m. at Fresh Avenue Barbershop. Art Franklin will moderate the conversation.

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