Social workers tackling mental health stigma in Black men


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – Mental health is a taboo topic for some Black men and social workers are trying to break that barrier.

“We need to keep doing more to erase the stigma surrounding us in mental health.”

Licensed social worker Seneca Pender with C. Williams and associates helps Black men and boys build their mental health with hopes to break a barrier

“The common thing that I hear is that we’ve endured so much socially like systematic racism, slavery, things that we’ve had generational trauma from,” Pender said.

Some men believe taking care of their mental health is unnecessary.

“The thought is we made it through that, why do we need to talk to somebody about something internal that we’re feeling that could be bothering us and hampering us.”

He believes it’s best to tackle this stigma as early as possible counseling about 10 to 20 teen boys a week.

“Starting at a young age or early age is giving the youth tools to deal with negative emotions, to deal with conflict, to deal with peer pressure.”

He takes a unique approach.

“We play board games, we go out and shoot hoops.”

It’s a necessary technique for him to break a barrier so he can help teens open up instead of bottling up their emotions in the long run.

“Sometimes it’s very important to express how do we feel when we’re sad, how do we feel when we’re anxious, how do we feel when we’re nervous.”

Pender is looking forward to the next generation taking care of their mental health just as much as their physical.

“I do feel very hopeful, I feel like in our community it’s becoming more acceptable to seek therapy.”

Tackling stigmas for a better future.

Copyright 2022 WTOC. All rights reserved.



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