GRAAHI to hold conversation on mental health

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Same Jones. Courtesy GRAAHI

The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute will host the second event of its three-month community series.

This month’s free session, titled Black Men and Mental Health, will be from 6-7:30 p.m.Thursday, June 16, at the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation, at 1530 Madison Ave. SE. 

Black Men and Mental Health is put on by the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute (GRAAHI) as part of its three-part summer series highlighting issues of social justice and inequality affecting African Americans in Grand Rapids. 

Samuel Jones, a licensed counselor and founder of Wisdom Center Counseling Services in Grand Rapids, will facilitate the session. Jones studied human resources at Grand Valley State University and holds a master’s degree in counseling from the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. 

This month’s session will explore the conflict between societal pressures on Black men and the ability to speak openly about mental health.  

“Mental health challenges for Black men and the entire African-American community are greater today than ever,”said Vanessa Greene, CEO, GRAAHI. “We must remove the stigmas associated with mental health and be willing to have open discussions that lead to understanding and better overall health for all members of our community.”

Added Barbara Lash, marketing and communications representative at GRAAHI, “Due to trauma, disparities in education, entrepreneurialism, employment and health, we often neglect to focus on feel Black male healing and empowerment. This program with a mental health professional is meant to address the common ways we manage our thoughts and emotions in the struggle but also celebrate our self-worth, self-thoughts and self-validating behaviors in a bridging conversation toward healing and empowerment.” 

Light refreshments will be provided, and all are welcome to attend this free event in person or over Zoom. Registration is recommended, as seating is limited. A link to the online event will be sent via email upon registration. 

The summer series will continue July 21 at the Center for Community Transformation with a session facilitated by Kenlanna Ferguson from Kalamazoo College. The event will focus on Black women and mental health.

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