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Coming together to face trauma and mental health in African American communities

Posted at 9:06 PM, Jun 23, 2021

BALTIMORE — Of the 162 homicide victims this year 134 of them are black men. So the question is how do we save a life before they became a statistic.

WMAR-2 News Eddie Kadhim was the only reporter in the room at the Oliver Community Center Wednesday with the people facing black trauma in Baltimore City head on.

Sitting in this circle are people who have lived through and face the mental health issues and trauma in our black communities everyday.

“Some of the best services are sitting around this circle, but how to get the information out there,” said Dr. Phillip Leaf, Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Part of what we’re doing and part of the message even from the federal funds and the Recovery Act they are going to be available for doing infrastructure work.”

Baltimore Brothers Inc. called on these experts for this panel that was live streamed to find solutions and bring everyone to the table.

Maurice Blanding said mental health has been the elephant in the room for far too long.

“You have a 15-year-old whose going home and his friends head was just blown out on the sidewalk. They need to talk about that. On top of that we do job training, resources, we help with jobs.”

Marion Williams with Maryland Wellness focuses on anxiety and depression.

Using tools like a mental health vision board that helped her son.

“Pretty much right down his feelings and emotions, So that when he speaks on it he’s able to pretty much explain how he feels,” Williams said. “Whenever he wakes up and he’s having a bad day he will write done whatever he’s feeling and stick it on his board. That will remind him that day I was feeling this way but today I’m feeling better.”

Mellanie Lee, the founder of Behind the S.M.I.L.E. that stands for Mental Illness Lifetime Effects worked in the Baltimore City Schools district.

She said citywide programs are needed and that principals should be trained on how to spend money.

“Principals and leadership as a whole need to understand if we work with students as they start in school and recognize and establish and know those problems or those concerns we can maybe not alleviate them as a whole, but we can start the process to make sure they don’t continue and build upon that,” Lee said.

Showing young people a better to escape than the streets.

Building a line of communication before tragedy.