Envisioning a Path Forward to Support Black Men’s Health
Men’s Health Month in June is a culmination of celebrating progress and looking forward to the future for improvement. The statistics and data are clear: men are more likely to put their health at risk through unhealthy choices, which leads to increased rates of cancer, heart disease, and suicide.
These problems are exacerbated for Black and Brown men. Oppression and societal constructs have caused increased financial strain and stress, linked to decreased physical and mental health outcomes. For example, men are less likely to attend therapy because of wanting to keep all of those feelings inside because of how society has framed the idea of a ‘man.’ However, Black men are more likely to have social determinants of health like race, socioeconomic status, and other parts of their identities, making it even more difficult to access the necessary resources and support.
So what can be done? We know the issues. We see them affecting the Black men around us every day. But now is the time for support, resources, advocacy, and action. Several health bills were introduced through the NC House / Senate Healthcare Committees: including H855 (increasing access and funding for health resources) and H585 (increasing and keeping school psychologists). Finding ways and opportunities for people of color, especially men, to enroll in programs as healthcare providers, allied health professionals, social workers, and therapists would facilitate greater access to resources and support, as Black and Brown men are more likely to get involved in these resources when someone looks like them. Finally, starting at a young age and developing the tools and ability to look at holistic health is key to a brighter future for all Black and Brown men in our communities.
Health Equity Fellow