How this former athlete is helping Black men with their mental health

How this former athlete is helping Black men with their mental health
Posted at 10:29 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 23:33:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A few dozen men turned out to VCU's campus on Thursday night looking to gain knowledge and support on their journey toward mental health and emotional well-being.

"I just want to get a clear view of what it means to be a man," Alan Anderson said.

Anderson, a 22-year-old college student, said he wasn't going to miss driving to Richmond from Fairfax Country.

The event, called Just Heal, Bro, is a nationwide tour geared toward Black men from all walks of life.

"I just want to learn from another man's perspective, someone who's successful and someone who preaches the importance of emotions. I want to learn from their perspective and understand how to embrace my emotions but also be that strong figure in the household," Anderson said.

"Most of us did not grow up in a space where we could express our emotions. We didn't understand what feelings were," Jay Barnett, a former professional athlete, said.

Suicide attempt survivor and former professional football player turned author and licensed therapist Jay Barnett was among the key speakers at the event. While on his own journey, he hopes to help others.

"What we're doing is we're giving brothers an opportunity to express themselves and not see themselves as being weak but actually, vulnerability is strength," Barnett said.

Additionally, the goal is to create brotherhood and community.

"It's hard, no matter what color you are, it is hard as a man to be open and vulnerable," Barnett said.

"This environment feels very accepting. We are all men just trying to figure it out. Everyone goes through the struggles. This is a safe space," Anderson said.

To learn more about the tour, click here.

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