Improving Mental Health, Manhood, and Social Support for Black Boys: The YBMen Project – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Improving Mental Health, Manhood, and Social Support for Black Boys: The YBMen Project

Arushi Chandrakapure


Pronouns: she/her/hers

Research Mentor(s): Daphne Watkins, Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: School of Social Work,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 2
Presenter: 4

Event Link


Conversations about mental health and masculinity and subsequent support in these realms is disproportionately low among Black males ages 18 to 30, and notably so at predominantly white, tertiary education institutions. Developed in 2008 by Dr. Daphne C. Watkins at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, The Young Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health (YBMen) Project was founded as an online social support and health education research initiative. Seeking to provide a safe space for young Black collegiate men to discuss mental health and identity concerns, the online format was shaped to decrease barriers to honest discussion. Given the historical reluctance of Black men ages 18-30 to discuss mental well-being and masculinity related issues in face to face settings, The YBMen Project in its current form mindfully considers the cultural sensitivity and gender norms influencing this trend to create a virtual space more suited to their needs. Targeting Black men in preclinical stages of mental health distress, the project focuses on attending to young Black men with a desire to express emotional and psychological needs within a cultural milieu that has not previously proven conducive to this process. Beginning its first phase in 2013, the YBMen Project has spread to multiple midwest college campuses to both implement and test the efficacy of the program in addressing a hegemonic view of Black masculinity and its related mental health issues. In the context of the previous work done on other campuses, this sub-study examines the feasibility of effecting the YBMen Project on the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus and discusses the impact of Covid-19’s virtual world on the availability of resources for Black males at UM and perceptions of receptivity to an online e-health intervention. This research will address the willingness, needs, and methods best suited for the mental health and social support needs of Black men at the University of Michigan (UM) with respect to the intersectionality of their culture and identity.

Authors: Arushi Chandrakapure
Research Method: Clinical Research

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