Stigmatization of Mental Health For Black Men Permeates Cinematic Landscape | Features


It helps when our celebrities use their platform to spotlight these issues. Actor-producer Kofi Siriboe (of “Queen Sugar”) and his production company Viakofi are introducing films that challenge the stigma about mental health in the Black community, particularly with the goal of encouraging Black men to have honest dialogues about their wellness.

At the center of his short film “Jump,” Siriboe’s character Ziggy is a haunted man who becomes suicidal and detached from reality while battling depression and hearing voices. Throughout the 11-minute short, Ziggy repeatedly utters the phrase, “I don’t wanna live, I don’t wanna die.” That simple statement, unfortunately, is the reality of what many battling mental illness tell themselves, something Siriboe wanted to drive home.

The movies are where we go to escape the realities of our lives. Fortunately, some of these newer films answer questions we didn’t even know we had. If you are a person of color, talk, speak, and blurt it out if you feel like something is not right with you. Take the time to talk to your healthcare provider, talk to your friends, and get the help that you need. Don’t be afraid to take that first step. There is help for traumatized brains.

According to Dr. Janet Taylor, in a recent interview with Good Morning America’s Janai Norman, “Your biggest ally is your brain. You have the potential to flip your mindset, and the earlier we teach our children … the better off we will be. Help is always there.”

Whether you are insured, uninsured or underinsured, know your resources. There’s a Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – all you need to do is text 988 or call 1-800-273-TALK if you are feeling suicidal.


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