Brennan Allan Steele
Author, Educator, and Founder of the Breathe Brotha Movement
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise?
As an author and educator, the mental health and wellness of black folks is always at the forefront of my work Through my recent publication "breathe: a guided healing journal for black men," I seek to offer space for black men to reclaim their own story, reflect on their identity, and understand their emotions in a world that was not made for them. Black men must simultaneously meet the expectations of manhood that tell them to not show any signs of perceived "weakness" in showing emotion, while also having to endure the trauma of a society that routinely murders folks that look like them in silence. This, in addition to the stigma around counseling in black communities, often leaves black men in an unhealthy space mentally and emotionally. "breathe" seeks to catalyze the healing from the realities of existence of every black man who completes it.
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
To me, Black Mental Wellness means the emotional and mental wholeness of a community of people that throughout history has always had to continue to press on despite a complete disregard of their humanity. From slavery to the civil rights movement to the current Black Lives Matter movement, trauma is unfortunately a part of our lived experience as black people. Black Mental Wellness is thus then a radical undertaking because it suggests an alternate future where black folks thrive anyhow.
What are your recommendations for ending stigma in the Black community?
We first need to see the pursuit of mental wellness as a