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What is the YBMen Project?

The Young Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health Project

The YBMen Project is an educational and social support program for young Black men. Through the project, we can learn about the strategies that influence and shape young Black men’s ideas and experiences with mental health.

This culturally-sensitive, age-appropriate, and gender-specific program uses a private social media group (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, etc.) to provide mental health education and social support to young Black men by using information and prompts from social media and popular culture (e.g., YouTube videos, photos, lyrics, and current headlines).

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Why Young Black Males?

The Need: Transform Gender Norms. Enrich Mental Health. Engage in Social Support.

Young Black men experience disproportionately higher levels of mental health challenges due to their exposure to a greater frequency and severity of psychosocial stressors compared to other young men.

Studies have chronicled the poor health outcomes of Black men as a result of: racial discrimination, negative attitudes toward the justice system, racial and cultural identity, depression, violence, and masculine gender norms.

Yet, the mental health challenges among young Black men have largely been left out of national discussions about this segment of the population and concerns about violence. These mental health challenges are not always discussed in the Black community itself, making them difficult to address.



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How Does It Work?

Using Social Media to Facilitate Healing Discussions

Participants join a private YBMen group (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, etc.) that our team has created, where we post information and prompts that are culturally-sensitive, age-appropriate, and gender-specific.

These include YouTube videos, song lyrics, and current news headlines.

From there, we facilitate online discussions, where we ask the group members to respond with their ideas, thoughts, and perceptions of issues related to mental health, manhood, and social support, communicating in the private Facebook or Instagram group using original posts, comments, “likes,” and “shares.”

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The Results: Our Method Works.

Our Findings: Supporting Young Black Men Using Social Media Platforms Works.

Based on our research, we have found that the YBMen Project’s approach to supporting young Black men using social media platforms is successful.

During the first phase of the YBMen Project at Jackson College, depressive symptoms decreased for men in the YBMen Facebook group but not for those in the comparison group.

Also, user engagement was strong, as 88% of participants viewed the YBMen Facebook group weekly and 63% actively participated each week.



Cups of Coffee

consumed by the YBMen project team

Potential YBMen Sites

in communities across the globe

Number of Supporters

and partners in the YBMen network
Young Black Men Served
through the YBMen project so far
Where We Started
The YBMen Project was born in 2014, after Dr. Daphne C. Watkins spent several years studying the mental health, masculinity/ manhood, and social support of Black men over the adult life course.
Where We Are Going
Moving forward, our findings will help us build a global mental health campaign to improve Black men’s mental health, their adherence to progressive masculine norms, and increase their social support.

News & Updates

Explore What's New @ YBMen