Indianapolis (Wish) — For countless black men, waking up brings a certain level of terror.

Issues like ongoing racism, police brutality, and social injustice make it difficult for some to see the light.

It may be hard to admit, but experts say these issues have long-term effects on mental health.

For many black men, George Floyd is a mirror image of themselves. The video of Floyd’s death is forever entrenched in the spirit of Reverend Kenneth Sullivan Jr.

Sullivan, pastor of New Directions Church on the east side of Indianapolis, said: “I was like, ‘How is this even possible?’ And I did a lot more soul-searching.

Sullivan says it’s nothing new to see the injustice black and brown communities can experience, but Floyd’s death was a turning point. and knew he had to have what he called a “talk.”

“I had to help him figure out that he was an African-American man,” Sullivan said.

A study published by the American Psychological Association found that by the age of 10, black boys may no longer be viewed in the same way as their white peers in terms of childhood innocence. Instead, they are more likely to be mistaken for being older, be seen as guilty, and face police violence if accused of a crime.

In addition to the need to raise awareness about how to act against law enforcement, Sullivan said, black men also have to deal with conflicts within their communities.

“When I was 18, my best friend was murdered. We had just graduated from high school and he was murdered. “It was being done,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan’s trauma story resembles the lives of many black men.

“For me, it’s just the reality of the world we live in,” Sullivan said.

Community activist Dee Roth shared a similar experience with News 8’s Amicia Ramsey.

“When I was five, I saw people being killed in broad daylight. I was playing on the sidewalk with big wheels. I was a kid,” Ross said.

These experiences can affect the emotional and mental health of Black youth and adults.

The nonprofit Mental Health America found that blacks’ experiences in America were more often characterized by trauma and violence than whites’.

Ross says young black boys are taught not to express themselves.

“There’s something called ‘toxic masculinity’ in America and men can’t be defenseless. They can’t cry. They can’t breathe. We have to change that.” ”

To get more black men to open up, Ross says people have to listen to them. He says the mental health of black men is often overlooked as if their struggles don’t matter.

“Why can’t you breathe, why can’t you exhale? That doesn’t mean you’re not man enough,” Ross said.

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