It’s Mental Health Awareness Month in the US, and conversations around this subject have never felt more pertinent. Mental health issues have increased exponentially the past year and, according to Mental Health America, youth mental health is worsening. Depression in young people has increased to 9.7% compared to 9.2% last year. This rate was also highest among those who identify as more than one race, at 12.4%. The past year has been a particularly distressing one for news stories and for many, it’s been impossible to escape.
The peak of Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, followed by the Stop Asian Hate rallies – a response to the rise in Asian hate crimes during the pandemic – and the media coverage that surrounded this indicates just some of the additional mental trauma that certain groups have experienced during this time. The experience of racism and the psychological wounds that such exposure has on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities is real.
That’s why, for Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Movember is using its platform to host a series of virtual panels to discuss challenges to mental wellbeing, specifically for BIPOC communities. Its aim is to support, empower and uplift those who identify with this group, and offer helpful tools and resources to take forward.
Movember's Mo Bros speak up
There are unique struggles that certain communities, most notably underrepresented groups, will experience when it comes to their mental health and ability to access mental health services. Mo Bros, Matthew Morris and Jay Williams, share some insight into their experiences growing up.
“Boys like us were taught to never show emotion. Boys like us found role models in the men on television who dribbled basketballs like yo-yo’s and dodged defenders on the football field. They taught boys like us to be tough. By high school, we perfected the “mean mug”; the cold stare Black boys would make at other Black boys, quasi jockeying for territory within those school hallways and neighborhood sidewalks. Boys like us were treated like men way before we ever thought about getting a driver’s licence. And because of that, Black boys like us never talked about mental health.
“Since we are no longer the boys but now the teachers, the men, it is our responsibility to shatter yet another stereotype of Black masculinity.”
Our partnership with Movember
Contiki’s partnership with Movember goes back a long way. Together, with Movember’s platform, we want to open up discussions on the issues that matter most and share brilliant resources to support mental health in young people – and in young men. In doing so, we believe we can change attitudes and encourage others to seek help when they need it most.
Donovan Morris, mentor and ambassador for Movember, knows first hand some of the struggles that affect young, Black men. “For me personally, my goal as a mentor is to have this generation of young Black men become something more than society wants them to be. And specifically, within the male community, breaking down the stigmas that are placed on men.
“For instance, thinking we have to be tough all the time and we can’t show emotion. We can’t live like that. Crying does not make you weak. In fact, showing emotion actually makes you strong. I want these young men to realize, internalize it and be true to themselves”
View this post on Instagram
Movember Sessions: Panel Series
The Movember series will center BIPOC voices and lived experiences about the effects of media on mental health, and wellbeing in the workplace. This will create a safe space for healthy dialogues with experts and people who have lived experiences or work in the mental health space.
How mass media is affecting the mental health of today’s population, focusing on portrayal and treatment of BIPOC. How publicly sharing your story can impact your mental health and help others who are struggling
- Moderator: Keith Nishida – National Program Dir., NAAAP
- Mac Hawkins – Literary Scout – Pragmatic
- Nerses Aposhian – Commercial Real Estate Broker, Investor and Developer at IDS Real Estate Group
- Justin Rhodes – Senior Director, National Digital Content at WETA
- Damon Phillips Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, NBC Sports Group
How organizations are creating safe, supportive, and inclusive environments. How companies are supporting employees based on current events and how diversity, equity and inclusion strategies are being developed and implemented
- Moderator: John Eligon, New York Times Journalist
- James Alva – Citi (Sr. VP & Market Leader – Community Relations)
- Love Odih Kumuyi – Unsiloed Founder & CEO
- Sedrick Spenser – Biogen, Director, State Policy & Government Relations
- Katrina Thornton – Kellogs, Senior Director Global DEI
Additional tools and resources
As a leading charity changing the face of men’s health, Movember knows what works for men – and what doesn’t. Here are some of its great tools and resources to check out:
- Tools like Movember Conversations and funded projects like Making Connections – focused on men and boys of color across the US, to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives
- Resources for spotting the signs of a friend who might be struggling and having tough conversations
- Real Stories from the Movember community
Make sure you take time to check in on your own mental health and those close to you this month.