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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Pastors, Counselors Work To Lower #Suicide Rates In #Minorities

By Dave Jordan

The year 2020 has been a year of strife, unrest and an ongoing #pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on the marginalized and minority communities.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Many dealing with suicidal thoughts, #depression, #anxiety
Report shows #suicide rate among #black #youth on rise
Tampa church working on voucher program in bid to help

“They’re dealing with suicidal thoughts, #depression, #anxiety,” said Pastor Larry Roundtree ll of New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa.

Roundtree has counseled dozens of parishioners dealing with those issues which he says were exacerbated by the #Coronavirus crisis, #racial inequities and images of #police brutality.

A recent study by the medical journal “Pediatrics” showed 73% of #black #highschool #students tried to end their own lives between 1991 and 2017. A subsequent report by the #CongressionalBlackCaucus found that the #suicide death rate among #black #youth increased faster than any other #racial group.

Both studies were conducted before the #COVID-19 #pandemic and the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

“Life is complicated right now, especially being a person of color, and I think that’s the first step of telling yourself that it’s OK not to be OK,” said Ashley Hugh Stewart, director and counselor with Love Hugh LLC.

Stewart, who specializes in #mentalhealthtreatment of marginalized groups, says there are social and economic barriers that prevent those communities from getting the help they need.

“It’s a very compounding issue on top of the fact that #mentalhealth disparities are not seen as an issue for #AfricanAmericans,” said Stewart.

Often in #AfricanAmerican communities, there is a negative #stigma surrounding therapy.  Pastor Roundtree is working to reverse that by developing a voucher program that would cover the cost of counseling for indigent and needy families.

“It’s not just OK but it’s encouraged and sometimes it’s essential that they seek out professional counseling,” he said.

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

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