180: Changing the Game in Mental Health as a Black Man

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According to a 1986 report by the American Psychology Association, the percentage of psychology PhDs awarded to men in 1975 was nearly 70%. As of 2015, the lack of men graduating with doctorates from psychology programs was both alarming and disappointing. But what’s even more worrying is the number of Black men pursuing psychology. In essence, 76% of the students in US universities that earned psychology PhDs in 2015 were White, and only 5.8% of psychology PhDs were awarded to black students. Of that 5.8%, 68% were Black females, further demonstrating that black males are woefully under-represented in the world of psychology. Why is that, and how many of them are First-Gens? Although we need to applaud women’s gains in psychology, the lack of enough men is increasingly worrying.

Black Men and Psychology – 05:50

In the US, African Americans make a little over 14% of the population. According to a 2015 study by the American Psychology Association, 86% of psychologists in the US workforce were white, 5% were Asian, 5% were Hispanic, and 4% were Black. Sadly, of the 4%, the number of men in the mental wellness space is significantly lower. So, how does this play out for Black male psychologists working in a predominately white field? 

For the most part, Black men in psychology are constantly ridiculed for being vulnerable and emotionally aware of themselves and with others. This is because men are not brought up to be vulnerable or show emotions. Interestingly, most people enjoy seeing openness in other people but are afraid to let them see it in themselves. And this should not be the case. As a community, we need to start embracing vulnerability and mental health awareness. This way, we get to connect with people different from us and enjoy a beautiful sense of belonging. 

Why you Need to Take Your Own Path – 13:37

We all want to live a life that is uniquely our own and feels right to us. Unfortunately, not many people get to live a life that is uniquely their own. They falsely believe that they have to do things a certain way, attend the best schools, get a good job, settle down, and build a family, just like everybody else. But here’s the thing, you can either choose to live life just like everybody else or create your own path. But making your own path isn’t easy, especially if that path involves doing something different from the norm. You will feel lost and wander around before finally finding your footing. 

Darius is a firm believer in taking a new path and creating your destiny. Of course, following somebody else’s path will eliminate a few hurdles along the way. But if you want to live a happy and fulfilled life, create your own path. Trust your instincts. Make mistakes and do what you have to do to make it to the top. At the end of the day, you’ll be happy with how far you’ve come and developed a mental grit to never giving up. 

So, ask yourself this question, do you follow the same path as everyone else? And if your answer is yes, why do you do it? Is it yes because it’s truly the right thing for you, or is it because you fear being different?

What Does Success Really Mean to You? – 18:27

We all want success; we all want to be successful and feel successful. Some of us chase money, fame, and power, while others pursue education, careers, and relationships. But have you ever asked yourself what success is? What is that one thing that when you archive it, you can call yourself a success?

Darius defines success as being happy. As long as he’s happy, then he’s successful. And his happiness comes from helping people. Of course, he needs money to take care of his bills, but seeing people better and living happy, healthier lives drives more satisfaction than all the money in the world. So, if you’re a little confused about what you can do to achieve happiness, ask yourself the one thing you can do for the rest of your life, for free. We’re not asking you to be a non-profit or something, but the things that make you happy are the ones that money can’t control.

Put Yourself First – 23:10

Do you ever put yourself first? Are you even aware that you probably don’t put yourself first? This is a common problem for a lot of people, especially First-Gens. At work or in school, we are always at the mercy of others– teachers, bosses, and coworkers. At home, we have to take care of our children, pets and handle household chores. There is a constant obligation to handle everybody else’s business and put your needs last as an adult. Yet, to live a happier life, you need to be loved as equally as you love others.

Here’s the thing, you can’t take care of other people’s needs when burnt out. If you don’t create time for yourself, you can’t be there for someone else 100%. If your batteries are dead, it becomes impossible to cater to others. So, take some time and be gentle with yourself. Take the day off and do the things you truly enjoy. Go get your nails done or go swimming. Just make sure you do something that clears the fog in your brain.