Physical and Mental Health are both are of utmost importance when it comes to achieving and maintaining our quality of life. Research has proven that our physical and mental health directly impact one another. Think about this. When we are stressed, oftentimes we get headaches, an upset stomach or chest pains. In addition, when we are not feeling well physically we have low energy, less motivation to complete tasks, and are more likely to be emotionally unavailable to the ones we love. But despite all of this synergy between physical and mental health, and ailments seen and unseen in the body and mind, most people, and men especially, choose to ignore and not engage. Traditionally, Black men have been known to refuse to go to the doctor. There has been a prevailing “lack of trust” for doctors by Black men even to the point where in the medical community, lack of trust for physicians by Black men is an official cause for the incidences of several illnesses.
Far too many Black men live with the absurd thought that “I just don’t want to know what’s wrong.” I have worked with many individuals who have lost loved ones to illnesses that could have been prevented, or whose loved ones have died from illnesses that their loved ones kept a secret from them, because they did not want to worry their family or friends. This leaves surviving loved ones feeling sad, frustrated and often times angry at the departed individual for not making their health a priority, resulting in their life span being shortened. This devastating and often unnecessary loss is time that could be spent with a spouse, children or grandchildren; or that could be used to build and solidify a legacy for future generations. Embracing physical and mental health straight on is an important lasting legacy that Black men should strive to create. I urge everyone to make both their physical and mental health a priority. You and your loved ones deserve it.