Top Resources to Support African American Men
We’ve compiled a list of the top resources to support African American Men who are struggling with wellness issues and/or mental illness.
A Look At The Statistics
Over the past decade, overdose death rates have increased for all demographics in America. That being so, the overdose death rates for Black Men have risen significantly more than those of other groups. During 2020 alone, the rates of overdose deaths for Black men aged 65 and older were almost seven times higher than those of their white counterparts. Black people (both men and women) aged 15 to 24 saw an 86% increase in overdose deaths during 2020 alone.
This is the progression of a long-standing trend that has been building for decades. Between 1999 and 2018, the largest increase was among synthetic opioid overdoses in Black Men. In 1999, there were 0.1 synthetic opioid overdoses per 100,000 Black Men. This had increased to 36 synthetic opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 Black Men by 2018.
This trend has been compounded by the recent pandemic and the problem is still escalating. In October of 2021, the Pew Research Center conducted a study that found that 42% of Black adults perceive drug addiction as a “major problem” in their community. This is contrasted to just 34% of White adults that feel drug addiction is a “major problem” in their community.
Mental health struggles similarly affect Black Men disproportionately to their white counterparts. In 2019, 11.8% of Black teenagers attempted suicide in America. This is in sharp contrast to 7.9% of White teenagers who attempted suicide during this same time. Additionally, according to SAMHSA’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 16.2% of African Americans reported having a mental illness in 2018. Among them, 22.4% reported having a “serious mental illness” that interfered with their lives.
Socioeconomic status has a role to play in the prevalence of mental health issues of any demographic, and it is certainly at play among Black Men. As of 2018, 20.8% of Black people in America were living below the poverty line. Black Men living below the poverty line are 2 times as likely to report mental health struggles than those living above the poverty line. The stigma of mental health struggles within the Black community can also contribute to the reluctance of Black Men to seek help for their mental health challenges.
While the reasons for these disparities are many, there is also a wealth of resources available for Black Men who are struggling with substance use disorder, mental illness, or both.
Addiction Recovery Resources for African American Men
- The No Shame Movement: This is a national movement that aims to destigmatize mental health and addiction struggles within the Black community in America. They provide resources and a community of other Black Men who are working to overcome their mental health and/or substance abuse struggles.
- Young People in Recovery: This is a non-profit organization that has chapters all over the country. As the name implies, this is a community of young people who are in recovery from substance abuse. For information on their Tennessee chapter, email Kayla Cribbs at email@example.com
- The SAFE Project – Samuels Story: This is an autobiographical account of Samuel, a Black Man who grew up among violence, drugs, and alcohol. He details his challenges with addiction, and most importantly, what he did to overcome addiction and change his life.
- The Temper – Black Recovery Memoirs: This article details 12 autobiographical memoirs written by Black People about struggling with addiction and finding recovery.
- Online Museum of African American Addictions, Treatment, and Recovery: This website acts as a hub for information about addiction, addiction recovery, and the African American community.
- Concerned Black Men of America: This is a community outreach and community building organization that was founded by Black people, for Black people. Their main focus is to re-invigorate the inner city communities that have been hit hardest by drug addiction and violence, but they provide many different types of programs all across the country.
- Addiction in the African American Community: The Recovery Legacies of Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X: Written by William White, Mark Sanders, and Tanya Sanders and first appearing in the Journal Counselor in 2006, this paper takes an inside look at the history of addiction in Black communities in America. They include quotes and stories from Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X that tell the stories of addiction recovery throughout the history of Black America.
- Recovery Dharma – BIPOC: This is a section of the Buddhist-inspired Recovery Dharma fellowship that is specifically for and by Black and Indigenous People of Color.
- The Transformation Center: This is a Maryland-based non-profit organization that works to help Black People in the local community. Their website also has an expansive resource page that lists helpful resources all across the country.
- Word In Black: This is a community of Black news publishers from all across the country who have come together to publish stories that are uniquely for, and by, Black people.
- Black Recovery Stories Speaking to Individual and Collective Wellness by Emily Lordi: This is an in-depth article looking at the impact that addiction and mental health have had on Black America over the past several decades.
Mental Health Resources for African American Men
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, this is a 24/7/365 crisis line that can provide care to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or having thoughts of suicide. Dial 988 from any phone within the US.
- Call Blackline: This is a crisis line devoted to African American people who are struggling with mental health issues. Call 1-800-604-5841 for help.
- Crisis Text Line: This is a text-only crisis hotline that can be reached anytime, 24/7/365, by texting HOME to 741-741.
- SAMHSA Black & African American Resource Guide: This is an extensive guide that provides a wealth of resources for Black Men who are struggling with mental health issues. These resources include educational materials, recovery programs, and federal initiatives aimed at helping Black Men who may be struggling.
- Black Men Heal: This is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing helpful mental health resources for Black Men and is specifically centered on the needs of Black and Brown communities.
- The Steve Fund: This organization is wholly dedicated to improving access to mental health resources for Black Men and Women in America. They provide dozens of resources including webinars, internal and external resources, and a crisis text line which can be reached by texting STEVE to 741-741.
- Therapy for Black Men: This is a therapy and mental health advocacy organization that is dedicated to the destigmatization of mental health services for Black Men.
- Lee Thompson Young Foundation: This foundation was created by the family of Lee Thompson Young, a Black American actor and entertainer, who took his own life after struggling for years with bipolar disorder and depression.
- Black Mental Wellness: This is an advocacy organization whose stated goal is to provide a Black perspective on mental health challenges. Their website provides resources, and evidence-based information and works to decrease the stigma of mental health issues within the Black community.
- Black Emotional And Mental Health Collective (BEAM): As the name suggests, this is a Black-specific mental health alliance that works to provide resources for Black people who are struggling with mental health issues. BEAM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that can help connect someone to the help they need.
- Ourselves Black: This is a mental health advocacy organization for Black People, by Black People. They provide stories of recovery, positive coping practices, and a range of resources for Black People who are facing mental health challenges.
- Transparent Black Guy: This is an Instagram account dedicated to celebrating Black Men and supporting Black Men’s mental health.
- In Our Own Voice: African-American Stories of Oppression, Survival, and Recovery in Mental Health Systems: Written by Vanessa Jackson and made available online by the National Empowerment Center, this 37-page historical retrospective tells the story of the struggles of Black America in overcoming mistreatment and discrimination within the mental health institutions of the time as well as the authors’ personal story of recovery from mental health challenges.
- Melanin & Mental Health: This organization works to connect Black People with culturally-competent therapists anywhere in the country. Their website provides a resource page that lists dozens of helpful resources to accelerate healing.
Videos for African American Men
- Black Men Speak & Men of Color: This is a project dedicated to spreading a message of hope and healing through the art of storytelling. Their media page provides videos of recorded talks and stories.
- Stories of Hope & Recovery – Jordan Burnham: Jordan shares his story of addiction, mental health issues, and a suicide attempt. He also shares how he changed his life and overcame his addiction.
- TED MED – Let’s Quit Abusing Drug Users: This TED Talk by Professor Carl Hart discusses treating addiction as the disease that it is and removing the stigma behind the addiction.
- TEDx Talk by Phillip J. Roundtree – Black Mental Health Matters: Phillip Roundtree tells his own personal story of recovery from trauma and mental health challenges in this inspiring video from TEDx Wilmington.
- TEDx Talk by Billy Johnson – Rediscovering Hope Through Self-Forgiveness: Billy Johnson retells his journey from the dark depths of self-imposed hell to an awakening that has empowered him to forgive himself and discover a new way of life.
Podcasts for African American Men
- The Breakdown with Dr. Earl: Dr. Erlanger Turner (Earl) is a trained psychologist and university professor who explores a variety of mental health-related topics in the Black community.
- Black Mental Matters: Co-hosted by founder Vince Bailey and Makeba Reed-Johnson, this podcast tackles a wide range of issues that Black Americans face every day. Their website also provides an extensive resource page that provides a wide range of mental health and addiction recovery resources.
- Let’s Talk Bruh: This podcast is a haven for discussing any and all issues that affect the contemporary Black Man.
- Black Mental Health Podcast: Hosted by Reginald Howard, this podcast is aimed at sharing stories of recovery from mental health issues.
- All Black Men Need Therapy: This podcast is focused solely on the challenges faced by Black Men and how mental healthcare is more crucial now than ever in the Black community.
- Getting Your Sh*t Together with Cynthia: This podcast details the challenges of getting sober as a Black person in your 30s. Hosted by Cynthia, the podcast focuses on the challenges of sobriety, mental health, and life in general in today’s Black America.
- The Friend Zone: A podcast about mental health, mental wealth, and mental hygiene hosted by three friends Dustin Ross, HeyFranHey, and Assante who all have personal experience with mental health challenges in the Black community.
- Ourselves Black Podcast: This is an initiative of the website Ourselves Black that provides weekly podcasts about a variety of Black-centric mental health issues and stories.
- Dear Black Boy: The Therapeutic Podcast for Black Men: This podcast is all about uncovering and healing mental health issues. This includes mental health disorders as well as mental health conditions formed through trauma.
Apps for African American Men
- REAL: This app provides a wide range of tools for improving mental health and developing new coping skills. They provide tools in the app as well as live events streamed through the app.
- The Shine App: Now a part of Headspace Health, the Shine app provides daily meditations, self-care exercises, and virtual community workshops that can help Black Men support and improve their mental healthcare routines.
- The Safe Place: As a self-described “minority mental health app geared towards the Black community” Safe Place provides culturally-competent mental health exercises and can help connect someone with further care if they choose.
- MindRight: This is a text-based app that provides daily inspiration and motivation through text messages.
- Somewhere Good: This is a novel app that focuses on audio as the main method of interaction. With a wealth of voice memos, recorded monologues, and dialogues, this app is geared towards slowing down and connecting with your community.
- Liberate: Created by Julio Rivera, this app is intended as a virtual community to heal, meditate, and grow with like-minded Black people all across the world.
- WEconnect: This is a personal growth and wellness support app that also helps connect you with other people who are looking to improve their mental health.
- Minds of the Culture: This is a Black mental health app designed by Dr. Chanda Reynolds. The app includes journaling exercises, a Black therapist directory, and a variety of videos to help improve your mental wellness.