The YBMen Project (Ongoing)

Principal Investigator: 
Daphne C. Watkins, PhD (University of Michigan School of Social Work)

Project Goals & Approach:
The ability to access an Internet-based (online) setting 24 hours a day provides a safe educational and social support setting, particularly for young black men who may face mental health and masculine identity issues. As a part of the online community, users can be more sensitive to the problems experienced by other young black men, a gender and cultural norm that may not be well received during face-to-face interactions. In addition, online communities can encourage young black men to offer stories and support for one another as they express their emotional and psychological health successes and failures.

The Young Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health (YBMen) project is a Facebook-based, health education and social support program. The YBMen project targets 18 to 30 year old black men in college. Young black men who may be less likely to discuss their mental health face-to-face; whose distress has not reached clinical severity; and who desire social support in a setting that is safe and non-threatening can enroll. A primary aim of the YBMen project is to provide a health education and social support environment for the mental health antecedents and masculine realizations of young black men to manifest. Also, we strive to identify the policy and practice implications of the program in underscoring the culturally sensitive and gender-specific factors that lead to successful transitions to adulthood for 18 to 30 year old black men.

YBMen – Phase 1

Dates: 10/1/13 – 12/31/15

Study Site (Location): Jackson College (Jackson, Michigan)

Funding: Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Research and Training Center, University of Michigan School of Social Work

Summary of Findings: Click here

YBMen – Phase 2

PART A: Dates: 10/1/14 – 5/30/16

Study Sites (Locations): University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Summary of Findings: Currently in progress

PART B: Dates: 6/1/16 – 12/31/16

Study Site (Location): Eastern Michigan University

Funding: University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center

Summary of Findings: Currently in progress

YBMen – Phase 3

Dates: 7/1/16 – 6/30/18

Study Sites (Location): Ohio State University and Michigan State University

Funding: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (via The Stephen C. Rose Legacy Fund)

Summary of Findings: Currently in progress


**** To visit the YBMen Project website, click here. ****


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