Every year, more than 40 million Americans struggle with mental illness. African American men are as likely as anyone else to have mental illness, but they are less likely to get help. Depression and other mental illness can be deadly if left untreated. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among African Americans 15 to 24 years old. Untreated mental illness can also make African American men more vulnerable to substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration, and homicide.
To help start conversations about mental health, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) have launched Brother, You’re on My Mind: Changing the National Dialogue Regarding Mental Health Among African American Men. This initiative has two major goals:
- Goal 1: To collaborate on efforts to educate Omega members, their families, and related communities on the effects of depression and stress.
- Goal 2: To communicate the importance of seeking help for mental health problems and to encourage affected individuals to get information from their health care providers and others in order to obtain appropriate treatment.
This initiative uses a variety of activities to raise awareness of the mental health challenges associated with depression and stress that affect African American men and their families.
The Brother, You’re on My Mind toolkit provides Omega Psi Phi Fraternity chapters with the materials needed to educate fellow fraternity brothers and community members on depression and stress in African American men. Omega chapters and their partners will use the toolkit to help plan and execute community education events and build strategic community partnerships to advance initiative goals. Other organizations, such as nonprofits, churches, youth groups, and retirement homes, are invited to use toolkit materials as desired to educate African American families on mental health.