Conversations will be presented online throughout the first week of June.
June is Men’s Health Month and BOHEMIA Cares is marking the national observance with a series of virtual conversations that focus on the physical and mental health of Black men.
“We just want to empower as many men as possible, especially our Black men who have been victimized, who have been deceived, who have gone through the struggle all of their lives,” executive director Verlancia Tucker says.
Tucker founded BOHEMIA Cares in January 2018 after seeking counseling for her own mental health and finding healing through that process. Today the nonprofit provides health and enrichment programs in Bradley and Pulaski Counties. The organization’s mission is “to inspire individuals to build strong self-esteem, become leaders and discover untapped talents that will lead to a prosperous life,” Tucker says.
“We want to offer programs that promote self love while spreading mental health awareness,” she says.
BOHEMIA Cares’ inaugural Men’s Health Month programming includes a series of conversations with guest speakers who will discuss the importance of mental, emotional and physical health. Discussions are being broadcast throughout this week via Facebook Live.
“Everyone goes through things at different ages and I just wanted some powerful Black men to come on and to share from their perspectives, and also give some advice on how to communicate with our young boys and Black men, learn some different ways of interacting and also just offer some of the things that they do within their respective roles to help us to begin the healing process,” Tucker says.
Jeremy Owoh, deputy superintendent of academics and school leadership for the Little Rock School District, was the series’ first guest speaker yesterday. It is imperative for men to take care of their own health because they won’t have the capacity to help others if they don’t, Owoh says.
“Your mental health impacts your emotional health and also impacts your physical health; it’s like an ongoing cycle,” he says. “If one of them is out of place, then that impacts the whole body, and so you have to make sure you take time to really address all of those areas — mental, physical, emotional — because they all play a part.”
Some men are hesitant to seek therapy to improve their mental health because of the stigma attached to it or because they don’t want to be put on medication. However, therapy looks different for everybody and there are a variety of ways to receive therapy, Owoh says.
“Don’t let the stigma that comes with a mental health provider or a counselor or a therapist keep you from being who you are,” he says.
These virtual conversations about men’s health continue today and are scheduled through June 7. You can watch the discussions and find a complete schedule of the week’s events on the BOHEMIA Cares Facebook page.