An Online Behavioral Health Intervention Promoting Mental Health, Manhood, and Social Support for Young Black Men: The YBMen Project.Am J Mens Health. 2020 Jul-Aug; 14(4):1557988320937215.AJ
Conventional definitions of mental health, manhood, and social support create barriers to accessing behavioral health care for Black men ages 18 to 30. Targeted behavioral health interventions sensitive to culture, social norms, and gender that circumvent these barriers are desperately needed to improve access and integrated care for this group. This article reports mixed methods findings from the 2017 iteration of the Young Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health (YBMen) project, a social media-based, psychoeducational program that promotes mental health, progressive definitions of manhood, and sustainable social support for Black men. Young Black men (n = 350) across two universities in the Midwest completed baseline surveys on their mental health, definitions of manhood, and social support. Forty of the men participated in the YBMen intervention and at postintervention reported experiencing fewer depressive symptoms on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9, Z = -2.05, p < .01) and the Gotland Male Depression Scale (GMDS; Z = -1.76, p < .05). There were also changes on the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory (CMNI) for Self-Reliance (Z = -0.34, p = .26) and Heterosexual Self-Presentation (Z = -0.18, p = .59), though these changes were not statistically significant. A qualitative review of postintervention interviews revealed participants' appreciation of the YBMen project and its influence on their mental health, manhood, and social support. Programmatic efforts that support the behavioral health, positive development, and social relationships of Black men translate into positive families, communities, and experiences as they live, learn, love, and work over the life course.