OPINION: Black male diary (they suffer too)
Apr 18, 2019
Dr. William Melvin Brown is an MD at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and retired U.S Navy commander.
Just like women, men have issues and feelings. The difference is that women are not scared, and we are encouraged to express ourselves. Society has oppressed men in sharing their feelings. Emasculating black men has been happening since slavery days.
It’s time for Black men to be encouraged to speak on their true feelings and get the proper mental and physical help. It doesn’t make them less of a man, just a better one. It’s 2019 ladies, give the man a chance!
First, it starts with education in the household. That’s the only way they will be aware of self and society. Education is the beginning to everything. If they do not know their history, silence will continue to be a mystery. Speaking and encouraging them to talk about their feelings will open the door for a healthier lifestyle.
Why they are afraid
When it comes to speaking up, of course no man will want to feel bad about speaking on his feelings if it’s going to make him feel less than a man. Two of the main reasons African American men are afraid to speak up are:
-- Lack of insight or education on mental and physical health.
-- Not having a trusting or nourishing friend or family member.
According to Dr. William Melvin Brown, an MD at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and retired U.S Navy commander, “The problem is education.” Blacks are suffering the lack of education on mental and physical health in the household due to not having people they can trust and rely on.
The only time African Americans are educated on health is up to the age of adolescence. That’s usually when they stop going to doctors for checkups and physical exams. It should be continuously matter, Brown said.
Fifty percent of African Americans live below the poverty line, which can limit access to proper health care. That is the reason some can’t get the proper care they need to further provide their well-being.
Man up a checkup
From physical to mental, seeing someone about your health is a mandatory matter.
Brown said every male should get at least yearly checkups. There are so many health concerns, especially in young males in colleges. The main concern is STDS/STIS.
“STDs are an all-time high in South Carolina,” Brown said.
Men don’t know the importance of self-care and these diseases can affect their partner, Brown said.
“Research shows there's a new strain of gonorrhea in Charleston that is resistant to all drugs used to treat the common sexually transmitted disease,” according to Brown.
Depression has multiple reasons why each man may suffer differently. It’s not talked about enough in the community and not really within African-American males. Most males are afraid of the reaction they will receive from society.
Depression is caused by several factors. Some of the ones that men suffer in silently are rape, sexual molestation, homosexuality and suicide. It doesn't just happen to women; it happens to men too. It plays back to the double conscious that men of color are worried on speaking truth feelings, without backlash from society and, more importantly, their own community.
“You are not less of man if you expressed your feelings. You’re a better one, because then you're slowly healing,” Brown said.
Being oppressed has taken a toll on most men to succeed in their own self-care and future goals as men, which can lead them downhill with mental health.
Brown stated, “Being tough and suffering in silence is perpetual in a way that creates slave mentality.”
A lot of African-American males don’t have access to care so they have relied on what they can afford and ways to cope with the pain. Those include drugs and alcohol. It’s their therapy to feeling good.
Resources are out there to help men of color in need. Once again, it goes back to being educated and giving them equal support, Brown said.