Men are told to be tough. If they cry, they are labeled as crybabies. Black men are expected not to express their feelings. But what happens when this cycle of toxic masculinity prevents Black men from getting mental health help? 

According to the American Psychological Association, only 26.4% of Black and Hispanic men between the ages of 18 to 44 who experienced daily feelings of depression or anxiety accessed mental health services.  

A few factors contribute to the low rates of Black men getting mental health services. For example, when Black men seek help, they prefer a Black psychologist — but only 4% of psychologists are Black. And due to the history of this country, mistrust toward the medical and mental health systems influences Black men’s reluctance.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fernando Branch, 41, says he had a difficult time navigating the isolation. His family encouraged him to see a doctor, but he disagreed. Then, that’s when his 12-year-old daughter said, “Dad, you’re a little on edge. Maybe you should get checked out.” He took his daughter’s advice and went to see a Black doctor who diagnosed him with depression. 

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