Session Description: Examines how trauma, violence and stress are experienced by boys and men of color over their life span. Discussion revolved around understanding how communities of color view stress, violence and trauma and the impact of these experiences when they reoccur over time.
Panelists: Dr. Derek Griffith; Dr. Eric Mankowski; Dr. Bruce Purnell; Julia da Silva, Director of the Violence Prevention Office at the APA
- The impact of how we define men is actually contributing to the trauma that young boys are experiencing by trying to fit into Paul Kivels “Act Like a Man” Box
- Boys and men of color have fewer resources to achieve and perform hermonic masculinities and thus creates gender role strain
- Youth are impacted by trauma simply by the exposure to that trauma regardless on whether it is directed towards them or others
- In rethinking what masculinity a comfort zone that allows boys to define their masculinity as they see fit and we have to celebrate the advancements of young boys as reaffirming their identity
- Need to break away from categorizing young males in the boxes of “Bad…Good…Mad” (mad meaning crazy) and look at how all of this is connected with trauma
- Poverty is Traumatic and thus if a child lives in a high poverty community then trauma can become the norm.
- Physical Freedom cannot happen without mental freedom first -Dr. Purnell
Quick resource: Check out the work of Ms. Da Silva of the APA with the ACT Against Violence Program here!
Ok that said. The fun part was the Q&A. We got into a very vigorous and intense debate (finally! lol) regarding research and practice and how the research does not get to the practitioners. Key thoughts were around how research and evaluations that are considered “best practices” are delivered only to a small group or small sectors rather than nationally scaled. In addition debate revolved around who is best to deliver the services and that some way or another a broader group of individuals (teachers, parents, community leaders, etc) rather than just mental health professionals.
The push back, as Dr. Griffith rightfully noted, was that research does engage the community and does look at how the work impacts the practice. The retort, by me, was first acknowledging that was correct but the lack of scale and a proper resource delivery system keeps from the majority of the practitioners from knowing and thus engaging in this information and implementing it in our own practices.
This was indeed a good and spirited debate but, as I will note again on my random thought, we have to be careful in focusing on programmatic approaches in trying to address systemic problems. Still in all a a very good session.