Is there a the link between weed use and the onset of mental issues in black males?

Often times individuals use weed to self-medicate instead of addressing possible underlying mental health challenges.   Similar to other substances, such as alcohol, we must be aware of the becoming dependent on these things in attempts to “escape” our problems. Unfortunately, this is very common and in many cases socially acceptable until something drastic happens.

How do I overcome the death of my daughter? She was murdered in December and was seven months pregnant. She was my first born and no amount of therapy seems to be helping. They have me on two different anxiety meds and sleeping pills and even that is not helping.

Losing a loved one is always difficult and my condolences to you and your family. Seeking a therapist that specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or Complicated Grief Treatment (CGT) can help.  In addition to this, helping understand the various emotions, such as anger towards the murderer, sadness for her loss, and any other feelings)  associated with her death may also help. To begin, start by getting those emotions out on paper by writing them down. This will help you physically see all of the things going on in your head and then with the help of professional they can help sort through those. Also, please do not think you have to just “get over it.” That is a lot to process and there is no definite timeline.

My daughter is a juvenile diabetic – she’s had it from age 8 and she’s now 16. She’s talks about suicide and when I ask her why she thinks about it she said because of the diabetes and when her little brother gets her mad. I’m not sure if this should be taken seriously.. any advice?

I would take all conversations about suicide seriously. As a someone that has been living with a medical issue for most of her life, there may be a desire to be “normal” and not have to deal with the condition anymore. Helping her identify the emotions affiliated with being tired of rigor associated with being diabetic can be helpful, but also highlighting that she can still live a healthy and full life is very important. I would also have her identify specific examples of when she has these thoughts (who, what, when, where) and start to take note when they occur. I would also suggest finding support groups online or locally that include children who live with juvenile diabetes.

What does depression look like in Black men?

Depression in Black men can look different per individual. Some of the common signs include substance abuse issues, anger, a loss of focus, social withdrawal, physical pain, sexual dysfunction, and suicidal thoughts.

My son is 33 wants to but can’t hold a job, smart but dropped out of school, doesn’t like meds and is using street self-medications and now needs rehab….with all the shootings across the nation everyday I’m AFRAID for his life. How do I get him to rehab (Obamacare not working in GA) or to continue seeing his Black therapist?

The first step is allowing him to acknowledge that he needs help. Sometimes forcing someone into treatment drives them further away from it. This can be done by framing some of the behaviors that you noticed that causing an issues. Also pointing out how well he was once doing before self-medicating and going to his therapist on a regular basis.  In some cases, you may not be the one to deliver this message because it may be well received. Using family members and friends that he is close to will help.

Are there natural ways to deal with your mental health issues?

There are natural ways to deal with mental health challenges such as meditation, regular sleep patterns, and mental activities such as journaling and coloring.  Mental wellness also correlates with physical wellness. Therefore, exercise and nutrition are also treatment options. So making sure that you are physically active daily and monitoring the foods you intake are essential.

I live in NC. Do you know how I can find a therapist (Black male or female). I have issues and would like someone to talk too

A: (it is not just for girls) is a great resource for finding a Black therapist. (EDITOR’S NOTE: has a directory of therapists by city and state, with information on their specialties and whether or not they take insurance.

My Black son is 5 and is in preschool. Is this age too young to put him in non-stimulant medication for ADHD? We are seeing thee pediatrician about it this morning because he is about to get kicked out of a 3rd preschool. He starts kindergarten in the fall. I have tried everything!

It is not too early, but I would make sure that he constantly monitored for any side effects. Also, use medication after other treatment modalities are ruled out, such changes in environment, routines, and supports in his life. Also, does he exhibit these behaviors outside of the classroom setting? If not, that particular environment may have been the issue.

I suffer from bipolar depression as do my mother and my niece. The key to dealing with some mental illness is counseling and medication. Also exercise is a good way to cope. The hardest part is dealing with the stigma. It”s not like cancer where people understand that it’s a disease.

I completely agree. I found that all of those things help me manage.

Good morning, my husband suffers from mental issues but he is undiagnosed and will not get it checked out. He also abuses alcohol. His mother, brother and sister also have mental issues, but are also undiagnosed. I have a 10-year-old daughter and she is displaying signs as well. How do I go about breaking the cycle?

Creating a space for your daughter to address her challenges would be a great start. This may include talking with her about the things that you notice, letting her know that she can talk about anything that she has going on, and opening the opportunity of her talking to a professional.  Creating that option will be beneficial for her to see that she does not have to deal with it on her own and you start to create a healthy habit within her that is not hindered by stigma. And if she has reservations, let her know that you will go with her if she wants and maybe evening trying therapy yourself to set the example.

What is the most efficient way to remind someone that they need to take their meds?

The most efficient way is to show the person how well they are when they take their meds in comparison to when they do not take their medication.  This could be pointing out certain behaviors, people that are in their live at particular moments, or their ability to reach their goals at various points in their life.

Mental health advocate and author Rwenshaun ((rah-shawn)) Miller is a therapist, speaker, and social entrepreneur. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his masters degree in clinical mental health counseling from Montreat College in North Carolina. 

After successfully managing his personal battle with bipolar disorder, Miller started the non-profit Eustress, Inc. to help black males in particular get the support they need to handle their own mental health challenges. He’s the author of “Injured Reserved: a Black Man’s Playbook to Manage Being Didelined by Mental Illness”.



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