Exploring Grief and Loss through a Men’s Faith Ministry

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May 5, 2022

African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis County. 

Exploring Grief and Loss through a Men’s Faith Ministry – Starting the Conversation

May 4, 2022 Podcast:

Audio file

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Rev. Jon Batiste, the Associate Minister and Men's Ministry Servant Leader at Mount Zion Baptist Church, where Rev. Dr. Daryl L. Horton is Pastor. Rev. Jon is also a Family Advocate for Child Inc. Head Start. His personal goal and aspiration is “to be used as a conduit to impact the lives of all people for the betterment of the total person, with great attention given to men of all ages.”  

It is difficult for men, especially Black men, to discuss their feelings. Reasons for this include the many influences, experiences, and messages that stem from society, culture, and family. Rev. Batiste notes that within his Men’s Ministry, men have shown interest in having more real, and genuine conversations. He further expresses appreciation for the AMEN program providing the Men’s Ministry with an experienced, Black male therapist to facilitate these conversations, as such dialogues are necessary to help men become more comfortable with who they are.

Rev. Batiste’s vision for this initiative is for men to feel more vulnerable and willing to talk about hardships “when life gets heavy.” Faith communities can gain strength by offering guidance and working through issues together. As a Black community, it can be helpful to create safe spaces to establish trust where men can talk about mental health challenges with one another. Shannon Jones adds that there is so much stigma around mental health that keeps many men from seeking the help they need. Men often prefer to seek a provider that looks like them and understands their cultural and spiritual needs. However, the limited number of Black therapists leaves the community with few options.

Rev. Batiste explains the importance of encouraging younger generations to consider going into a therapeutic profession to address the range of health needs within Black communities. He also emphasizes the value of mentoring and reaching out to younger individuals. Sharing love and experiences can be a significant asset to those in need. Additionally, sparking these important conversations and breaking the stigma can offer Black men the support they need to thrive in today’s world.

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