Saturday’s summit at Whittier Street Center will focus on mental health issues for men

Men’s mental health will be the focus as Whittier Street Health Center hosts its 19th annual Men’s Health Summit on Sat., June 29. Established as a forum to address the disparities in men’s health and health care, this year’s summit, Men’s Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma to Address Emotional Wellbeing, Physical Health and Family.

Despite growing awareness of mental health by the public at large, the topic for at-risk African American and Latino men remains in the shadows. For men in these communities, a cultural reluctance to acknowledge mental health issues can result in a lifetime of suffering from undiagnosed and untreated conditions. According to a CDC Health Interview Survey (2015), black and Hispanic men aged 18-44 were 40 percent less likely to utilize mental health services than their white counterparts.

“The Men’s Health Summit is an opportunity to illustrate the importance of educating men and their families and to take control of their health – physically, mentally, emotionally and socially,” says Frederica Williams, president and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center. “This year’s health summit aims to actively mobilize men from all walks of life to use the opportunities and resources available to them. This, in turn, can improve their wellness and that of their families and the surrounding communities.” 

The one-day Men’s Health Summit will feature a keynote speech by Michael Curry, the former Boston NAACP president. Curry serves as the current executive VP of Mass League of Community Health Centers. His remarks will be followed by a Q&A panel discussion with mental health professionals. 

Awards will also be presented to Whittier Street Health Center’s 2019 Men’s Health Champions: Abdillahi “Mash” Abdirahman, owner, Butterfly Café; Eugene Barros, director, Division of Healthy Homes & Community Supports, Boston Public Health Commission; Rich Chiarella, president, Chiarella Designs; Charles Cofield,business representative, Community Outreach and Recruiting, New England Regional Council of Carpenters; Rev.Dieufort Fleurissaint, director, Haitian American Chamber of Commerce of MA; Alejandro “Alex” Garcia: marketing and program director, Adult Day Healthcare Village of Joy; and Rev. Emanuel L. Hutcherson, ED, Future Hope Apprenticeship & Recovery program.