Milwaukee Black Men Professionals in Health Join Wellpoint Care Panel to Discuss their Roles and Growing Black Men’s Representation in the Field

Dialogue Surrounding Black Men’s Mental Health

When was the last time you spoke about your mental health? Another burning question, when was the last time you spoke about your mental health with someone who looked like you? For Black men, the topic has always been taboo, and with only 1% of therapists in the United States being Black men, the Wellpoint Care Network hosted The 1% Panel: Black Men in Mental Health to bring light to this disparity and encourage more Black males to join the field. 

Wellpoint Care invited the Milwaukee community to talk about this gap in the mental health world with a panel of Black men working in the field. The panelists were LaNelle Ramey of MENTOR Greater Milwaukee, Montréal Cain of MERA Cares, Milwaukee Police Department Officer Dominique Thompson, Kenneth Ginlack of Serenity Inn, and mental performance coach Ambrose Wilson-Brown.

The panel touched on the importance of mentorship for young Black men, the power the community holds when shaping the way the youth think about their mental health, and the need for more male role models in the community. 

The 1% Panel: Black Men in Mental Health hosted by The Wellpoint Care Network.
The 1% Panel: Black Men in Mental Health hosted by The Wellpoint Care Network. (Picture by Maria Peralta-Arellano/Carvd N Stone)

“One of the biggest problems is we don’t know how to talk to young people. We end up saying things like you crazy or lazy, you cuttin ‘up, I would never do that.” Cain said, “We have to understand that we can get them in the right direction, but let’s also give them the resources so they can finish well and not have to worry about their mental health.”

The Birth of a Scholarship During 1% Panel 

The lack of Black mental health professionals has left scars in the community, so one of the goals for the event was to discuss how to get more youth involved with their mental health and encourage them to think of careers in the mental health field. 

Ginlack, a man who experienced an untraditional path into the mental health field, announced the development of a new $500 scholarship for Black men going into the field of social work or social services. The scholarship was quickly doubled to $1,000 after a community member donated to the fund during the panel. 

“I created it so [men] can get into the world of social service [because] most of it is geared towards women. Men tend to open up more to men and I want to create a more vulnerable space for them.”

– Kenneth Ginlack

The scholarship is currently being developed with plans to open up later this year.

Maria Peralta-Arellano is a Milwaukee-native journalist who focuses on sharing news from her local communities. She dedicates her work to accessibility and producing bilingual coverage focused on arts, culture, and politics. She looks to explore her community through a journalistic and creative lens.

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