Black Citizens Became Mental Health Counselors

How Black Citizens Became Mental Health Counselors for African American Men

Ray Canner identified Detroit’s desire to be a barber at a young age. And he is the best Mental Health Counselors. When he grows up, he is abused. He saw his mother addicted to drugs and alcohol during the war. He often went to bed hungry. When he needed to escape, he landed at the bar shop on his lawn, traveling eight miles to get some new cuts and some companionship from Jesse. This relationship gave him the gift of the dark days of life.

“Jesse may not remember me, but he saved my life as a dad when I was little, and now he’s just a master barber, not a barber trainer,” Connor wrote in a Google review of the store a few months ago. Connor, located in Johnson City, Tennessee, was inspired to become both a barber and a mentor in the face of adversity from young black men.”If I can give what he has given me, I know I’m doing something great,” Connor told CNN.


The Project Alliance

The Project Alliance, a nonprofit conference designed to help black men and boys transform into the best version, held a workshop in its town early last year. Connor knew at that moment that he needed to be involved dor Mental Health Counselors. He was amazed at how the organization’s founder, Lorenzo Luis, spoke openly about his plight. Through the alliance, he was not only shown how to take better care of his mental health but was also given tools to give his clients the same support.

Systematic racism has created a unique need to support black communities, yet national data show that many African American communities are under-represented in low-income and behavioral health care with fear. The past year has exacerbated these challenges. The epidemic has profoundly affected African Americans, and repeated incidents of racial injustice and police brutality have exacerbated the need for mental health care for black communities.


Confess Project

The goal of the Confess Project is to close the gaps in mental health care by providing a safe place for people to speak openly about the struggles they face. Instead, it has created a support network among citizens. Since its inception in 2016, the Barber Coalition has spread across sixteen cities in the Southeast and Midwest and trained more than 200 people as mental health counselors in their communities.

Coronaviruses online have forced online promotions for the most part but have also given them new opportunities to grow through their increased digital presence. The group hosts online training courses for members, group support calls, and individual check-in to block the epidemic and lead to lockdown and social distance.


More than a haircut

For African American men, the self-care of sitting in a barber seat is much more than personal aesthetics. Darnell Rice, director of the Confess project and director of employment, said: “It’s the pinnacle of the community.

Most tools are already trained to build relationships and build trust with their clients. Lewis goes one step further by training them on how to stay engaged in activities. Listening and how to train their clients about the problems in their lives. From there, grandchildren are trained in stigma reduction and legitimacy so that they can provide clients with positive empowerment for what is happening.


Details should be considered: angles, haircuts, and mental health.

“If you’re paying attention, if you’re a first-time client, you’ll be able to detect. If something is wrong, you’ll be able to tell if the power is off,” he said. Earlier this month, Connor’s first client told him how his brother had become addicted to methamphetamine and how harmful it was to his family. Connor’s drunken mother shared her experience of knowing she was unmarried and not alone. Connor’s experiences have made an appointment to return next week.

“He got the point that he was comfortable and that’s what I wanted. It’s not about money or tips, he knows Ray cares. It makes me almost cry I know I know they were happy I came and I came”.  I care and they Sharing it with me. “Barbers are treating fast they are not doctors. If they see someone who needs more help than they are equipped to offer. The Confess Project has connected with local organizations in their community that enable them to go with their clients.


Create a village

In Louisville, the influence of Divine Alexander surpassed his work in the Lab. Professional Barbering Service. ” When I enter his store it feels like I’m setting foot on another planet, I’m free,” said Dominic Collins, Alexander’s regular patron. Collins describes himself as a trendsetter and talks to Alexander which gives him the confidence to be his own. He shared this message with his four younger siblings all the time. “I tell them every day,‘ Hey, you go out there and you’re a little different.

Alexander has been able to connect and promote mental health with other members active in the community. A workshop held at his store took him to Elliott Kelly Jr., a student at the University of Louisville. “For the first time, adult men just admitted their weaknesses, so it was just a strong point of view,” Kelly said.


Barber Shop Talks

He was so touched by what Kelly saw that he created “Barber Shop Talks”.  His paintings are especially suitable for university students. From political meetings to police brutality, the general meeting aims to discuss how these dynamics pose a risk to mental health and overall well-being.


Prior to the epidemic

Kelly worked with the younger boys through the Louisville Urban League. As an assistant wrestling coach at a local high school. He saw the same anger and resentment among his students that he was able to grow in his own life. He said that young black children are usually treated according to their anger in school. But they are not helped to deal with the root of that anger.

“When I go to events, I think not only about myself but also about my students. It wanted me to be better. So, I could learn how to heal my students from trauma and how to deal with it. But how to find out. “How can this be done for me first,” Kelly said.
He plans to resume work as soon as the program resumes. When he feels deprived, he calls Alexander for advice.


Last Word

Going out of the store was the ultimate goal of the alliance. Lewis and his colleagues expect black men and boys to talk openly about their passions. And men of color know in society. They are loved and valued in a society that often makes them feel otherwise.”A child who is not involved in the village will burn it to feel its warmth.” Lewis told CNN, quoting a famous African proverb. “When we think of barbers, I see it as part of their village.”  “It provides warmth and accommodation and support that people feel to see, hear and celebrate.”

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