New Initiative in Tallahassee Aims to Provide Mental Health Services for Black Men

Michael Birdsong of Big Bend Mental Health Council, Engage Committee

According to Mental Health America, seven million Black people in the US reported a mental illness this past year. But that number is continuing to increase.

ABC 27 found out the new initiatives being done in Tallahassee to help break the stigma and get people the help they need.

Calvin Bryant said he learned this at a young age and it inspired him to be an advocate for others.

“I’m very prideful. As a man,” said Bryant, owner of 40 Caliber Fitness. “I grew up in this environment where you had to suppress your feelings and you just had to handle business.”

This attitude caused him to bottle up his feelings to a breaking point.

“On the outside, everybody sees one thing, but when I go back into the house, it’s a totally different story,” said Bryant.

Bryant was suffering from an untreated mental illness.

Dr. Fran Close with the Big Bend Mental Health Council said Bryant’s story is similar to many other men in the Black community.

According to the CDC, Black men are four times more likely to commit suicide than Black women.

“Just think about all the things that men, Black men, are going through with racism, discrimination in our country and just think for a second on how that impacts the emotional man,” said Dr. Close.

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SOURCE: WTXL, Veronika Vernachio

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