The Invisible Man: Black Men and Trauma

The Invisible Man: Black Men and Trauma


Thursday, June 18, 2020

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Location: Zoom Videoconferencing

3 CE Credits Available for Psychologists, PA/NJ/DE LPCs and LMFTs, and PA/DE Social Workers


Mental health issues for Black communities — in both the Philadelphia region and nationwide — are becoming a growing health crisis. Suicide rates among Black youth are continuously rising; suicide is the second leading cause of death for African Americans ages 15 to 24 in 2017; and Black adults are 20% more likely than their White counterparts to develop a debilitating mental health condition during their lifetime, according to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. A 2015 paper published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved found that Black men suffering from depression “continue to underutilize mental health treatment and have the highest all-cause mortality rates of any racial/ethnic group in the United States” (Hankerson, Suite, & Bailey, 2015).

In this introductory-level workshop, Ms. Sulaiman will present findings from the peer reviewed literature as well as case studies on early effects of trauma and posttraumatic stress across the lifespan among Black men in the United States. We will explore health and treatment disparities; discuss masculinity and race related barriers to the underutilization of mental health care services; and learn specific culturally competent trauma informed approaches to therapeutic care. We will also discuss why COVID-19 is hitting Black and Brown communities especially hard, and what this pandemic is teaching us about the extreme structural, health, and racial disparities that exist for Black men.

Participants will also learn about the nonprofit Black Men Heal and its unique model of providing free therapy to men of color. Ms. Sulaiman will be joined by one of the men who has experienced the program first-hand, who will share his personal story of trauma and healing and answer questions from the audience about his experiences of trauma as a Black man, his encounters with the mental health system, and the impact that engaging in therapy has had on his well-being.


Level of Difficulty: Introductory


Learning Objectives:

Following this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify signs and effects of trauma and PTSD in Black men across the life span.
  2. Define 3 major barriers to people of color seeking mental health care treatment.
  3. Discuss the mental health care needs and health disparities among diverse populations.
  4. Provide examples of at least 3 ways to develop and apply cultural competency and trauma informed approaches to treatment.


About the Presenter:

Tasnim Sulaiman, LPC, MFT, is the CEO of Taz Talk Therapy, a private practice specializing in relationships, couples and sex therapy. Tasnim is a Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor located in Ardmore, PA. She completed the post graduate program at Council For Relationships in 2015, for the Marriage and Family Therapy and Sex Therapy Certificate. She is also the Founder/Executive Director of Black Men Heal (, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide mental health treatment, psychoeducation, and community resources to men of color. Black Men Heal is one of the first organizations that offers free quality psychotherapy sessions to men of color by recruiting volunteer clinicians of color.

With over 15 years of experience as a therapist; Taz is also a professional speaker, presenter, clinical supervisor, and consultant. She offers trainings and workshops for organizations, companies and other clinical professionals. She has presented at national conferences; and is often an expert guest on radio, podcasts, and tv around topics of mental, emotional and relational health, and now the revolutionary program model for Black Men Heal. Taz has a mission to help educate and advocate for people to prioritize and mental health healing.



Fleurant, M. (2019). Trauma-Informed Care: A Focus on African American Men. In Trauma-Informed Healthcare Approaches (pp. 69-83). Springer, Cham.

Hankerson, S.H., Suite, D., & Bailey, R.K. (2015). Treatment Disparities among African American Men with Depression: Implications for Clinical Practice. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 26(1), 21-34.

Motley, R., & Banks, A. (2018). Black males, trauma, and mental health service use: A systematic review. Perspectives on Social Work14(1), 4-19.

Powell, W., Adams, L. B., Cole-Lewis, Y., Agyemang, A., & Upton, R. D. (2016). Masculinity and race-related factors as barriers to health help-seeking among African American men. Behavioral Medicine42(3), 150-163.

Sansone, R. A., Leung, J. S., & Wiederman, M. W. (2012). Five forms of childhood trauma: relationships with aggressive behavior in adulthood. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders14(5).

Whealin, J., & Ruzek, J. (2008). Program Evaluation for Organizational Cultural Competence in Mental Health Practices. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice39(3), 320-328.

Williams, M. T., Malcoun, E., Sawyer, B., Davis, D. M., Bahojb-Nouri, L. V., & Leavell Bruce, S. (2014). Cultural Adaptations of Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Treatment and Prevention of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in African Americans. Journal of Behavioral Sciences


Council for Relationships is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Council for Relationships maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Council for Relationships is only authorized to offer continuing education credits to the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Professional Counselors, and the New Jersey State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners.


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