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South Florida mental health advocate helping men in African American communities

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:51 PM EDT
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Carlos J. Edwards says he grew up keeping his emotions bottled up .

"The truth is we really don't talk a lot about our emotions and feelings. It's almost like taboo," he said.

Carlos said he struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, "We weren't taught how to express sadness we weren't taught it's okay to cry. We weren't taught that it's okay to grieve. We were accepted using anger."

Carlos said he got help, especially from his church, The Gate International in West Palm Beach.

Now he's passionate about mental health for men in the African American community.

Within the past year, 30 men have participated in his 12-week program, "I See You".

"I educated them on anxiety, trauma, depression. We promote a safe space where they can feel comfortable and safe talking about different things that they go through," he said. "Learning how to communicate, learning how to say what you are going through, learning how to express that you had a stressful day."

The program is off to a good start thanks to a mini grant from BeWellPBC.

Freslaine St. Louis is with the organization.

"As far as Carlos' mission, he's been very vocal on men and our African American men not having certain resources. So for him to be able to do this is a huge thing, St. Louis said.

"It makes it easier for me to continue to build relationships. It makes it easier for me to have a stronger relationship with my wife, a stronger relationship with my son and with my daughter. A stronger relationship in my community, in my ministry," said Carlos.

Scripps Only Content 2021