Depressed Black Gay Men (DBGM), a non-profit organization committed to helping raise awareness of depression, is breaking a taboo in the Black community with the premiere of a groundbreaking documentary You Are Not Alone. Through the courageous sharing of personal stories, Black gay men in the documentary explore many of the underlying social factors which contributed to their depression and the devastating effect on their lives.
You Are Not Alone is a documentary about Black gay men who are finally breaking the silence of their struggle and suffering with depression. It is premiering as part of a benefit gala on November 17 at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center (formerly the Audubon Ballroom where Malcolm X was assassinated).
You Are Not Alone opens up discussions on the critical issues affecting many Black men and Black gay men who go through life hiding their depression, which with detrimental effects is often a precursor to suicide, either through traditional or non-traditional forms.As a result of their depression, research says that many Black gay men who are depressed engage in unsafe sexual activity because they are unconcerned about the consequences, which in turn contribute to the spread of HIV.
The documentary is a combination of powerful, heart wrenching and poignant interviews, is balanced with professional opinions provided by mental health professionals, academics and religious leaders (Christian and Islam). You Are Not Alone is the product of a collaboration between triple NAACP Image Award winner Stanley Bennett Clay and Guyanese-born double NYABJ Award winner, journalist and national gay mental health activist Antoine B. Craigwell, who together embarked to push the envelope, shine a light in a dark, unspoken area in the Black community, to bring healing.
You Are Not Alone premieres at the fundraising gala I, Too, Am Not Alone @ the Table which begins at 7pm, featuring live music, performances by artists who contributed music for the documentary, and of Black gay artists showing their work. Following the premiere, there will be a moderated Q&A with panelists: America Psychologist Jeffery Gardere, Ph.D. the documentary’s co-executive producer; Stanley Bennett Clay, the director; Terrie Williams, author of “Black Pain”; and principle actors.
“A Black gay man dealing with depression should know that his mental illness is treatable and he need not suffer in silence; he is not alone,” said Craigwell, who created and produced the documentary. “If, by what I’m doing I could help stop one Black gay man from killing himself, then my work is done; his healing begins.”
Craigwell has been conducting discussion forums nationally on raising awareness of how Black gay men are affected by depression and focusing on its effect on the mental stability of the wider Black community. Drawing on research, the forums show the link between being depressed and contracting HIV, STDs, AIDS, suicide, and many other mental, emotional and physical traumas. The director, Clay, has directed films over a spectrum of African American, LGBT, and humanity issues and topics.
“DBGM is three projects in one: a book, currently being written, in which Black gay men share stories of their struggle and suffering with depression; this documentary You Are Not Alone; and discussion forums. The film, one part of the project, visualizes the pain and suffering Black gay men have and continue to endure; it breaks a taboo, and by speaking out about depression, those who shared their experiences for the book and documentary hope their stories would help others not to feel trapped and alone – that there is hope,” Craigwell explained.
For more information and tickets to attend the premiere of You Are Not Alone and gala visit www.dbgm.org