WYATT! does a deep dive into those timely and critical issues that impact Gay/SGL (Same-Gender-Loving) men with a diverse set of LGBTQ movers, shakers, and change agents. WYATT! is absorbing, informative, provocative–and sprinkled with sly, spicy (and sometimes a wee bit) scandalous humor! The fast-growing podcast airs on both YouTube and Spotify.
On this Saturday, January 7, I’m kicking off the New Year of WYATT! with Part One of my series on depression in Black Gay/Same Gender Loving (SGL) Men. Our special guest is Mr. Antoine Craigwell, the noted and go-to international expert on this critical societal and health issue.
Mr. Craigwell’s stellar achievements include founding DBGM (Depressed Black Gay Men), an influential non-profit organization committed to raising awareness of the underlying factors contributing to depression and suicide; producing You Are Not Alone, the noted documentary that examines the many underlying psycho-social factors that cause depression in Black Gay/SGL males; creating In My Mind, a mental health conference for LGBTQ+ persons of color, which received a citation from former NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo and a proclamation from former NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio; and launching the Ancestral Institute, which bridges ancestral/traditional healing practices with contemporary psychology.
Before discussing depression’s impact on Black Gay/SGL men and Craigwell’s illustrious career, we travel through the corridors of time to learn about his beginnings. Born and raised in Guyana, he talks about his intriguing childhood– and the poignant experience that compelled him to enter the mental health field.
Next, we get into the nitty-gritty of how depression uniquely impacts Black Gay/SGL men. The Hivplusmag.com article, “Depression Is Teaming Up With HIV To Kill Black Gay Men. Can We Stop It?” states, “Here’s where the numbers tell the story: Gay and bisexual men are twice as likely as straight men to experience anxiety or depression in their lifetime. Among those who are also black, a full 33 percent suffer from depression, in part because of the impact of other factors like poverty, discrimination, and mass incarceration in addition to homophobia.”
According to Craigwell, “The biggest contributors to depression in Black Gay men (are issues around) sex, sexuality, and sexual identity; the role of the church; contracting HIV; being out as a black gay man; and sexual abuse.” We explore these factors.
The mental health expert and I do a deep dive into DBGM, which he founded in 2013. We learn about the impetus behind its creation, its mission, and how the organization has made such a positive impact. Craigwell shares what he plans for DBGM in the future.
We also chat about the intersection between depression and Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) and how they fuel each other. Research into this dysfunctional, demoralizing, and potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse suggests that Gay/SGL and bisexual men experience IPV/A at significantly higher rates than straight men.
A riveting part of our conversation emphasizes the need for open and honest communication, which is necessary for one’s mental and emotional well-being. We speak about how to do that effectively. And Craigwell reveals in vivid detail a series of events that led him to attempt suicide and precisely what pulled him back from the brink at the very last moment.
So, jump-start your New Year with this raw and real installment of WYATT! It’s one you don’t wanna miss.
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