Men To Heal – James Harris

by Terry Watson | May 15th, 2019
James Harris (Photos by Max Williams Photography)

James Harris (Photos by Max Williams Photography)

James Harris received a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and started a movement getting men back focused on their overall health, mental and physical. “Men To Heal is a movement coordinated by me with the purpose of raising awareness about the mental and physical issues that men experience, and their lack of knowledge on how to receive services and assistance for them. I conduct quarterly forums in the Richmond community, addressing varies topics in mental health that men usual avoid discussing,” he said. James also conducts speaking engagements and workshops to end the long stigma of men not receiving services.

James started the movement in his second year of Graduate school. It has now gained the attention of other states, mental health professionals and community liaisons. James has also conducted forums via Skype for a few other countries. The movement has also been propagated all over Richmond with the assistance of T-shirts that have been purchased and worn by local citizens, celebrities, and athletes. James says he has been fortunate that other states and a few other countries including Afghanistan, Germany and Spain are seeking services surrounding this movement.

Everyone has their own personal reason for having an interest in the Men To Heal movement, and for supporting it. One would be that James is a local African American male therapist (which is rare in the Richmond community). Another is because most men are reluctant to seek treatment for health, especially mental health.

“I want people to get away from Hollywood therapy. Not every therapy or counseling sessions involve someone sitting on a couch and talking to a counselor. That is a form of therapy but not one that I feel that our community needs, and not just what the media would like for you to believe,” he shares. Based on the dynamics of the African American community, men have been taught to keep things to themselves, and not talk about them. Religion has taught them to pray it away. Unfortunately, James says there has to be an outlet offered to men that gives them a chance to express their feelings and still be masculine.

James emphasizes that his cause is not just about address the mental issues, the physical ones as well. Recently I met a man who had not a physical from a doctor in two years,” he said. “Most men think that it couldn’t happen to them, or they will not get prostate cancer and other illnesses. That is one of the stigmas that I want to break because the truth is it can happen to any male.” That is why the t-shirts are so effective in James’ cause. They are often used as an opening to get the interest of men, and to get the dialogued started.

James is looking to partner with other organizations and individuals who are interested in getting the word out and spread the message of the Men To Heal movement. To get involved, please contact James directly.

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