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Baltimore men working to change perception of mental health

Posted at 8:58 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 23:16:59-04

BALTIMORE — Two sons of Baltimore are making it their mission to break the mental health stigma and get people the help they need.

“Many young and older people are dealing with trauma in Baltimore city," Stephon Mackey said. "We are combating that head on by going to these communities and just letting them know Live Benevolent is here. We’re willing to help and partner with any and every one that’s who has the same goal as we have.”

Live Benevolent is a behavioral health clinic started by two young sons of Baltimore, 25-year old Lamar Purnell and 27-year-old Stephon Mackey.

“We provide outpatient mental health therapy, substance abuse counseling and psychiatric rehabilitation for both adults and adolescents," Purnell said.

The pandemic has been rough on our youth's mental health.

They’ve been holding events to get kids engaged and talking.

“To break the stigma surrounding mental health," Purnell said. "Whether it’s a clothing drive, feeding the homeless, or just two weeks ago we had a madden tournament. A lot of people might say that’s just playing a game. One of the things we explained to them how this could be a stress reliever. We also explained other stress relievers.”

Growing up in Baltimore they saw the need in their community.

“I had a hard time due to the fact that my mother lost her oldest son due to gun violence," said Purnell. "She had a hard time dealing with. I always think about if she had the resources to help her get through the situation things would be different.”

“We need to bring more light to mental health issues," said Mackey. "We recently partnered with McCulloh Homes as a community engagement partner with them.”

To reach people they go into the hardest hit communities.

Helping organizations like Haven for the Homeless and One more Plate.

“They are going through depression, anxiety, a lot of people don’t know where their next meal is going to come from," Mackey said.

They have licensed clinicians, group therapy and help people with housing, job placement, and daily living activities.

“A lot of people say generational wealth is passed down but they fail to realize generational trauma down as well, so we want to make sure we break that," Purnell said.

Going back into their communities to show them mental health isn’t a fight you have to take on alone.

To learn more about Live Benevolent click here.