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Why Are Black Men Invisible and Missing From National Health Care Agenda?

There has been a troubling silence on the health and well-being of Black men. There is a need to sound the alarm on improving black men’s health and the health disparities affecting them.

I decided to write this after watching a speech of an artist at the BET Awards. First, she said that her award was for women, even though men buy her records. But that’s OK, I get it. Then she spoke on the fight against the overturning of Roe v Wade and legalizing abortion. She asks the Black men in the audience, do we, Black men have Black women back in that fight.

My thoughts were absolutely, but we as Black men are still invisible to the national conversation of health and, unfortunately, invisible to many Black women in the overall fight for the health and mental stability of Black men.

As we march and sound the alarm for the rights of women’s health, which is a reasonable and necessary cause. We should be ever mindful and equally vocal that the health of Black men consistently ranks lowest across nearly all groups in the United States.

Evidence on the health and social causes of morbidity and mortality among Black men has been an ignored public health emergency!

Men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year but are 32% more likely to be hospitalized. Black men are far less likely to access health care than are white men or any group of women. Black men are 75% less likely to have health insurance than white men. Thirty percent of all men, compared with 19% of all women, do not have a regular physician.

You would even think that educated Black men would have a long life span and better health. There is no significant increase as it is for white men. Even with 6 figure jobs, Black men will overwhelmingly die from chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer than white men.

Black men have the lowest life expectancy rate at 72.2 years. the life expectancy for White men was 76.6 years; for White women, it was 81.1 years; and for Black women, it was 78.2

Notably, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Black men accounting for 37% of all new cancer cases. Although prostate cancer is also the most commonly diagnosed cancer in White men, incidence rates are 73% higher in Black men. But our we are still missing because prostate cancer also receives the least funding per new case than Breast Cancer.

As a publisher of a newspaper and a First Aid For Mental Health Practitioner, I have noticed the silence on the national platforms about the mental health of Black men. But I am also aware that having an honest discussion of Black men’s Mental health does not fit the negative toxic narrative or national images of Black men that have oversaturated Black music, media, and culture.

1 in 5 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18 and the rates are dramatically higher in Black areas marred by systemic poverty, broken homes, high unemployment, and sociological problems. Research suggests that young boys in particular may be extremely uncomfortable around other men and may suffer from confusion and anxiety about their own masculinity when becoming an adult.

Researchers have sounded the alarm about the number of young Black men dying by suicide, but Black leaders, the Black Community, and especially Black women are not listening.

Once again, Black men are invisible! How can we be when research shows the alarming rise of suicide among Black men? These Black men are fathers, husbands, uncles, and sons, and still, we are missing from the national conversation, missing from messages from our Black pulpits, and Black leaders, and missing from any wellness checks from our wives, daughters, and sisters. The Black man’s health and stability are invisible in today’s society and Black culture.

It’s also an unfortunate cultural condition that even black women have failed to realize the need for mentally stable Black men. When the Black man is open about his need for mental help, he is perceived as weak or not masculine. Is toxic masculinity more of a norm and acceptable than healthy masculinity?

Many Black men suffer alone! Even married, they suffer alone! They suffer in silence!

Being a Black man in today’s world to deal with racism, economic oppression, political oppression, being hunted by racist police, fear of being a homicide victim, and a systematic cultural separation from Black women; Black men have learned how to mask. When we walk out, we put it on. When we come home, we put it on. And everything is fine until it’s not! When Black men choose to be healthy, there is no support. There is more support from the Black man to have an unhealthy toxic lifestyle than have a healthy mind, body, and soul.

The fact of the matter is In 2015; researchers released data showing more suicides among African American children ages 5 to 11 than Caucasian children. This was the first national study to show higher suicide rates for African Americans than for Caucasians in any age group.

While most studies show that Black men are more likely to die by suicide while Black women are more likely to attempt suicide, recent research has observed that Caribbean Black men in the US have the highest attempt rate in the African American community.

This article is not to minimize any women’s efforts for equality and rights. My point is that the Black women and the Black man have the same fight, but Black men have been omitted from the healthcare agenda.

We must break the toxic cultural conditioning of competing and begin to holistically work with each other. The Black man and women have worked as a team from slavery to Jim Crow, through the Civil Rights Movement and the same enemy we had then, we have now.

Please see us! We are here! And many of us are in pain!

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About Damon K. Jones (216 Articles)
Damon K. Jones is an Activist, Author, and Publisher of Black Westchester Magazine, a Black-owned and operated newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. Mr. Jones is a Holistic Health Practitioner, First Aid in Mental Health Practioner, Diet, and Nutrition Advisor, and Vegan, Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Mr. Jones is a 31 year Law Enforcement Practioner, New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. Mr. Jones has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am), WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM), and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts, including Westchester News 12 “News Makers” and Public Television “Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show.
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