Psychologist Alduan Tartt is an expert on faith, mental health and relationships. He is the youngest African American to receive his Ph.D. in clinical osychology from the University of Michigan. Tartt manages a thriving psychology practice in Decatur, Georgia, and hosts workshops on healthy relationships, marriages, parenting, healthy sexuality, and conflict resolution across the country.
Tartt attended the National Black MBA Association Men’s Leadership Summit and spoke with rolling out about tips Black men should know to improve their self-care.
What are some tips that can help Black men protect their mental health?
You will have to stay close to God. I know it sounds cliche, but that’s how you get peace. You have to keep that prayer life. You also need to network and be with other guys because the load is too heavy. Make sure that you are around other brothers that are sharing their dreams, and supporting yours. Make sure that you’re doing self-care to the level of your damage and changing your life so it’s not burning you out. There is nothing smart or fun about burning yourself out and grinding when you could be working smarter, not harder if you just shared your vision and your dreams with your brothers and your sisters, but you’re going to have to trust. You should at least have three or four partners that you trust with your idea who will help you level up.
Why do Black men and self-care need to be a bigger topic of discussion?
When it comes to Black men, our mental health and physical health are at rock bottom, and part of it is how we train our culture. We suck it up and suck it up with a big straw, and then it comes out medically. We see our sisters doing yoga, taking time off, and going on these elaborate vacations, and we just keep grinding and grinding. But we’re the ones that have fewer life expectations, so we end up letting our families down in the name of working hard when really we should have just taken a break and taken care of ourselves. I also see a lot of men who are burned out, but can’t admit it. I even see pastors who are having mental health issues and they say it comes with the territory. If the load in the world is heavy, and you are a pastor, you have to carry it, but they feel like they can’t communicate that because it looks like they don’t believe in God.
What we have to do is we literally have to self-care, and we have to self-care to level the damage. A lot of times, what we do is just watch a game, take a day off, or take a shower. We literally need to do things to restore our peace of mind, and then go back to work so that we can be here long term.