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IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 1331: Improving the Living, Learning, and Thriving of Young Black Men: A Conceptual Framework for Reflection and Projection

13 Apr 2019

IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 1331: Improving the Living, Learning, and Thriving of Young Black Men: A Conceptual Framework for Reflection and Projection

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph16081331

Authors:
Daphne C. Watkins

Black men experience disproportionate mental health challenges due to their exposure to severe psychosocial stressors. Yet, the mental health challenges of Black men have largely been left out of national conversations. Strong theoretical frameworks are important when generating dialogue about the mental health of Black men, as it helps to validate the work on a larger scale while also grounding the work for more practical use. This paper presents the conceptual framework for a five-year initiative aimed at improving the living, learning, and thriving of young Black men through a social media intervention that improves their mental health, expands their definitions of manhood, and helps them to engage in social support. The Young, Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health (YBMen) project is a social media-based, health promotion program that targets mental health (e.g., depressive symptoms), masculine norms (e.g., definitions of manhood), and social support for young Black men using culturally-sensitive, age-appropriate, and gender-specific popular culture. The YBMen project has been successfully implemented with over 150+ Black men since 2014; findings demonstrate improved mental health outcomes, progressive definitions of manhood, and stronger social relationships. Reflections from the past and projections for the future are discussed.

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