This Week on American Black Journal:

President Joe Biden to deliver keynote at Detroit NAACP’s Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner

The Detroit Branch NAACP is gearing up for its 69th annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner on May 19 at Huntington Place in downtown Detroit. This year’s dinner will feature President Joe Biden as the keynote speaker, marking only the second time a sitting U.S. President has given the keynote address in the dinner’s history. The significance of President Biden’s appearance comes at a crucial time as the nation and world grapple with pressing issues, including those vital to the African American community. The stakes are high for Biden heading into the 2024 Presidential election.  

The Detroit NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner traces its origins back to April 1956 when it was launched under the leadership of Branch President Edward M. Turner, Arthur L. Johnson, and Dr. Lionel F. Swan. Despite the challenges of racial violence and tragedy during its inception, the event symbolized a period of renewed hope and determination among Black Americans. Attendees of the annual dinner play a crucial role in supporting the Detroit NAACP’s efforts to remain at the forefront of advocacy and activism. 

Host Stephen Henderson talks with Detroit NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony about President Biden’s appearance. Rev. Anthony outlines some of the issues and policies that are important to the African American community. He also gives details on the honorees at this year’s Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner. 

Stigma, shortage of psychiatrists further exacerbates mental health disparities in the Black community

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and “American Black Journal” examines the unique challenges the Black community faces in navigating mental health issues. 

Statistics from the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health show that Black adults in the United States are more likely to report ongoing emotional distress related to economic disparities. However, only one in three Black adults in need of mental health care receive it, underscoring a troubling gap in access and support. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also reports that African Americans are 20% more likely to grapple with mental health challenges compared to the general population. 

Carlynn Nichols, senior director of behavioral health at CNS Healthcare, underscores the necessity of recognizing and addressing these unique challenges. She advocates for regular mental health check-ins for individuals and their loved ones, along with timely professional intervention when necessary. 

Host Stephen Henderson talks with Nichols about the mental health challenges facing children, individuals and families today. She discusses knowing when it is time to seek professional assistance, how to eliminate the stigma of mental illness – especially in the African American community – and a growing shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

Nichols also explains CNS Healthcare’s campaign throughout May that encourages individuals and businesses to display signs in yards or inside buildings that contain crisis resource information and suicide prevention messages.

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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.