Healed Men Heal Men: A Look at Mental Health, Black Men Heal, and Kings CornerOct 06, 2021 11:00AM ● By Candice Stewart
As generic as it may sound, for most Black people, and especially Black men, therapy is considered as a question of their toughness and inability to express pain and sadness. It is also often considered a waste of time and other resources due to unaffordability and comfortability.
For one Philadelphia-based group, Black Men Heal, Black men taking care of their mental health is a major investment that can only yield great rewards.
Black Men Heal is a non-profit organization focused on the mental health of Black men.
They operate with three main goals in mind:
To remove the stigma around mental health
Matching providers and clients
Eliminating costs for therapy
Their mission is to provide access to mental health treatment, psycho-education, and community resources to men of color. They operate by the mantra that “healed men heal men”. Since 2018, the non-profit has become a full-fledged therapy service provider.
As shared by whyy.org, Black Men Heal started as a campaign to break the stigma of mental health treatment.
It was founded by Tasnim Sulaiman. She is a licensed professional counselor, and a marriage & family therapist specializing in sex therapy. With a number of years under her belt with her private practice, she filled her schedule with free sessions for Black men who were unable to fund the traditional route of therapy.
“Tasnim was joined by Zakia Williams and they built out the Black Men Heal we have today with other members of the team. With them having a vast amount of experience in the realm of mental health, they saw the disparity when it concerned Black men and decided to do something about it,” Douglas Reed, Program Coordinator at Black Men Heal tells FunTimes Magazine.
Zakia Williams is the co-Founder and chief operating officer for Black Men Heal. She has over 17 years of experience as a mental health professional.
Program Coordinator at Black Men Heal, Mr. Douglas Reed
About Kings Corner
One of the services provided by Black Men Heal are free therapy sessions in the form of a support group known as “Kings Corner”.
“We have a virtual space called Kings Corner. It was something that we established because of the overall demand for free therapy. So, last year (2020), we created a space where Black men seeking free therapy had access to such needs every Sunday evening at 7:00 pm via Zoom. It continues to this day,” the Black Men Heal program coordinator shares.
The space was created and is curated for Black men 18 years and older in need of therapy. The space also transcends cultures and geographical boundaries.
In speaking with FunTimes Magazine, Mr. Reed recounts sessions with men from Canada, Ecuador, The US Virgin Islands, and the United Kingdom to name a few.
Kings Corner has been in motion for over 16 months with an average of roughly 25-30 men coming to the space. However, with great work comes more work and expansion. So one of many positive outcomes of this is “...we’re now on a Kings Corner tour which includes Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Richmond, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia,” Reid says.
If you or anyone you know has interest in Black Men Heal’s “Kings Corner”, feel free to register for the sessions.
“Mr. Bilal was actually going through therapy fostered by us at Black Men Heal, so what better way to show a film from someone actually going through the therapy and some of the issues he’s faced. We believe that everybody can tell a story but everyone can’t share their story and that’s what Mr. Bilal is doing with his films and storytelling. This is another example of how healed men can heal men, ” Mr. Reed tells FunTimes Magazine.
“Our views and experiences with trauma in the Black community, especially for men, are so interconnected. This partnership just felt right,” he continues.
So when you heal a man for himself, you heal his family, you heal his community and now we say we heal the world one king at a time.
In speaking of his own experience in therapy, Mr. Reed had this to share:
“Once you go through therapy, you realize the importance for Black men not having to carry their burdens on their shoulders without help, you’ve got to talk to somebody and release your trauma and hurt.
My experience has been rewarding and life-changing. I was initially asked to join the non-profit before I even considered therapy. However, before taking the role, I told Tasnim that I’m a brotha who needs therapy and so, I went through the process. I am much better for it.”
Being a true example of the mantra, healed men heal men, Mr. Reed is now, more than ever, an advocate and supporter of mental health support and therapy for men in the Black community.
What mental health means:
“To me, mental health means healthy thoughts. It means that I have the coping skills to deal with any trauma that affects my well-being, that I have the accountability process, I can reach out to others for help. That I can voice my issues without the fear of being judged, without the fear of shedding tears or not doing anything greater than what God has created me to do,” he says.
Mr. Douglas Reed is a military veteran and dedicated social justice advocate, he has built a career that includes experience in law enforcement, organizational management, and working toward achieving greater diversity and equity within the US armed forces. He also spends time developing non-profit organizations and focuses on justice reform in regional jails and prisons as an extension of his participation in his church’s prison ministry.
This article is made in collaboration with Broke in Philly.
Candice Stewart is a storyteller: a writer, blogger of life lessons, a philanthropist and a nature lover.
She holds an MA in Communication for Social and Behaviour Change and a BSc. in Psychology from the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Follow her blog at thesuburbangirlja.com where she shares stories and life lessons through real-life experiences.
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