A maior parte das pessoas, quando ouvem falar em “saúde mental” pensam em “doença mental”. Mas a saúde mental implica muito mais que a ausência de doenças mentais.
Há um movimento crescente que reivindica o reconhecimento do preconceito e da discriminação racial como importantes causadores de problemas psíquicos. Por este motivo o Milénio Stadium foi ao encontro do jovem Zamour Johnson, um dos mentores do projeto ELEVATE que se foca no impacto do racismo na saúde mental dos homens negros no Canadá, através arte e com o tema : “ An exhibit and discussion centered around the emotional health of black men ”.
Milénio Stadium: Do you think this is not talked about because there is a sense of shame in the black community?
Zamour Johnson: I definitely think the reason why mental health isn’t discussed in the black community has a lot to do with the stigma and shame that comes with it. A lot of black people that are part of an older generation, just like most minorities or immigrants, didn’t have the time to focus on their own mental health because they were trying to provide a better life for their family and children. As a result, not talking about their own mental health became common procedure and as a result no one talks about it.
MS: Do you find it’s more immigrants or born Canadians that talk about mental health?
ZJ: I think mental health in general is a topic that most people don’t talk about in the first place. But based on what I said earlier, I believe that immigrants talk about it far less than most other communities.
MS: Do you think law enforcement has proper training?
ZJ: I don’t believe law enforcement has the appropriate training to deal with people who are afflicted with certain mental illnesses. Of course, I do believe there are certain people within law enforcement that would like to change this, the problem is I believe their efforts aren’t focused in the right place.
MS: Do you feel there are enough resources in the black community for mental health?
ZJ: Overall, I don’t think there is enough at the current moment. In fact, there are limited resources, but the problem is no one knows how to gain access to them in the first place because there’s still such a large stigma around mental health within the community. People are typically afraid to ask or talk about their own mental health because they’re worried about how people will view them once revealing something so personal.
MS: Do you think mental health is discussed enough within the home of black families?
ZJ: I don’t believe it is. I just turned 28 and only in the last few years did I start talking about mental health with my friends and family.
MS: With celebrities being more forward with their own mental health, do you think it makes it easier to the average person to do the same?
ZJ: I think to a certain extent it does. When an “average” person sees a celebrity discussing their own mental health, it puts a lot of things into perspective. It makes you realize that even when someone has an abundance of money and success, they still have to deal with their own abundance of problems, which makes them a little bit more relatable.
MS: How can we help spread mental health awareness in our community?
ZJ: I think the best thing for us to do is to start by having the conversations which will then lead towards creating plans to better ourselves and those around us for the future. Every time I’ve started the conversation amongst my group of friends and loved ones, I’ve noticed that people become more open and honest about how they’re feeling, which usually leads to a good feeling afterwards. I think that’s the first step towards speaking awareness in our community.
Vivemos diariamente uma série de emoções como alegria, amor, satisfação, tristeza, raiva e frustração. Temos que enfrentar os desafios e as mudanças da vida quotidiana com equilíbrio e saber procurar ajuda quando temos algumas dificuldades em lidar com conflitos ou transições importantes nos diferentes ciclos da vida. E em todo o caso, podemos contar com Zamour Johnson e as suas ferramentas de apoio.
Como comunidade continuaremos a zelar pela saúde mental e a dar força a projetos como o ELEVATE.
Pode encontrar mais informações do evento no Instagram (@topb0y) ou via email: [email protected]