James Harris understands that mental illness is a pervasive issue in our society. What’s more, is that he understands the dated ideas of masculinity that prevent many men from expressing themselves or seeking help.
Harris grew up as a ward of the state, and though therapy was required, it was not a good experience. The counselors were unrelatable, older and he didn’t see anyone that looked like him. After aging out of the system, he served in the military through two deployments. It was then that Harris decided he needed therapy to work through trauma. Unfortunately, he was still met with older, white counselors that he had trouble connecting with.
He saw a need for black mental health professionals that were familiar with his cultural background. Now Harris is an entrepreneur, and his mission is to help men in crisis. He published a book titled Man, Just Express Yourself , which serves as a guidebook for men of all ages. “With more men being home and around their family more often, there was more opportunity to get angry, be aggressive, have confrontations and lash out. I try to help them channel their anger and energy better,” said Harris.
He started “Men to Heal”, assisting men to focus on their overall wellness, which includes mental and physical health. The Men to Heal YouTube channel provides insight on wellness topics for the whole family.
Harris also provides community-based services in inner city schools, working with the Department of Social Services and sitting in on FAPT (Family Assessment and Planning Team) meetings to offer guidance.
Speaking engagements also keep him busy, and he’s spoken via Skype to five different countries. Harris also owns The HEALing Hub (Instagram: @the_healing_hub-rva) which offers outpatient therapy, massages, yoga, mindfulness and feeds the less-fortunate in their community every third Saturday of the month.
HEALing Hub offers a plethora of seminars built to uplift the community, teaching financial literacy, first-time homebuying, voter education, restoration of rights, and LGBTQ+ issues. “Young people need proper guidance - they need role models in other professional fields. Not just sports and entertainment. I want to show young people there are many paths you can choose,” said Harris.
For more information, visit their website at mentoheal.com or https://linktr.ee/men_to_heal .