Spiderman, Batman, Black Panther along with so many heroes are household names. We love their super powers, story lines, cool gadgets and most of all the costumes. The three that were mentioned have that in common, with the most notable part of the costume being the mask. It allows them to be two people at once, without risking someone seeing them for what they really are. Although a cartoon, the concept of a mask translates into something far deeper in meaning in real life. Individuals, who are dealing with depression, typically cover it up with smile, as a defense mechanism. That mask is more common than one may think.
According to blackdoctor.com, more than 5 million men suffer from depression each year. As it relates to Milwaukee, Wisconsin is ranked in the top 15 of states with high depression rates. Milwaukee is also ranked as the worse place for an African American man.
With those statistics in mind, Dr Ramel Smith started a mental health clinic, Blaquemith. The name perfectly illustrates his hands on work within the African American community. As a licensed therapist, Professor, Author and Activist, Smith has worked to combat issues faced in the community head-on, his most recent effort being the Black Men Don’t Jump mental health seminar, which took place November 8that the downtown campus of MATC. The event which was free saw over 100 attendees of all ethnicities and ages. Covering topics such as; identifying depression and resources for those who may be suffering from it, the event was full of substance.
“I never though a person sleeping too much or too little was a sign of depression” one attendee said responding to the topic of depression signs. Indeed lack of sleep or too much is a sign of depression along with anger, sexual performance anxiety, loss of focus etc to name a few of the overlooked symptoms.
“I can not express myself without being called soft” a man explained referring to his upbringing as an African American man. It has been a social stigma for years that talking bout what ails you is sign of weakness among black men, but until we allow each other to take our mask off we will continue to try to be superheroes