Black Men and Isolation is an issue that’s not getting enough attention. Experts call it a silent epidemic as men who isolate themselves develop terrible health conditions that could ultimately lead to death. There is a way to prevent that outcome. Licensed mental health counselor Dr. Luis Hines explains this topic, what to look for, and how serious this matter is.

“It gets pretty serious in a subtle way. Social isolation leads to loneliness, and loneliness can lead to mental health conditions, including depression. If your depression is serious enough, it can lead to Suicide,” Said Luis Hines, CEO of Luis Hunes and Associates.

Black Men and Isolation is a problem that affects more people than we realize. Studies have shown that people are social beings who need others around each other. Unfortunately, men tend to be more lonely than women. Psychology Today suggests that women are more comfortable being vulnerable to expressing loneliness than men. Men sometimes process vulnerability as weakness and usually hide those feelings. Dr. Hines’ expertise matches that detail as he explains that Men hold feelings and thoughts to the extent that they can be detrimental.

“Men keep a lot of stuff in their heads. They don’t like to talk, they don’t like to express themselves, and they believe they have to do things by themselves. They don’t like to be vulnerable with their emotions. These are all signs that can lead to loneliness and, perhaps, some mental defects,” said Dr. Hines.

Men can go into isolation for various reasons. Usually, it’s from a life-changing event that disrupts the social connection. Men who retire can fall into loneliness. Men who are single, divorced, or lost their partner can fall into loneliness. Signs people can look out for regarding this issue are changes in routine. Isolation can affect your sleeping and eating habits. Suppose the isolated individuals are more iterable and have a noticeable difference in their behavior. In that case, that is a sign to acknowledge. A more significant sign is men who isolate close friends and family.

Men who keep to themselves isolate the close people they usually don’t want to be away from.

Connection puts life into people. Being alone for long periods is not healthy for individuals. Dr. Hines explains that isolation was a tool used for punishment and discipline during wars in world history. He further elaborates that prisoners then lost their minds to psychosis because of extended isolation. Today, solitary confinement, placed in a small isolated space, is a consequence for incarcerated people.

Solutions suggested by Dr. Hines that you can apply if you are dealing with isolation and loneliness are learning to be vulnerable. Talk about your thoughts and feelings. Next is to go outside for some sunshine and exercise. Be conscious of what you eat. Dr. Hines advises not to consume too much sugar, alcohol, or drugs. The doctor also recommends contacting people, lining up plans, or calling to check-in. Those small steps can lead to huge strides in resolving the problem. For those who see their male loved ones become isolated or socially withdrawn, Dr. Hines encourages Persistentantly checking in on them. Deliberately give words of encouragement, talk to them, and invite them to plans so they can come out of the metaphoric cave.  

“Family and friends should definitely reach out to guys, especially if you find someone not reaching out to you. As men age, we tend to want to be by ourselves, creating a cave-like mentality. When things bother us, we return to the cave and isolate ourselves in the dark, gloomy places. Sometimes men never come out of their caves,” said Dr. Hines.

If the previous steps fail, the last option Dr. Hines proposes is Therapy. According to the National Institute of Health, men are less likely to seek mental health services than women. This problem perpetuates feelings of down and loneliness among men. Therapy is a no-shame step that can solve the issue of isolation. Dr. Hines encourages and applauds those who need it and seek it.

“It’s a big leap to commit in your head to go get help. I’ve seen a lot more men come forward seeking mental health services. I applaud them all the time. They are taking steps to fight depression and remove the stigma behind mental health,” said Dr. Hines

Clayton Gutzmore is a freelance journalist in South Florida. He published stories in several news outlets including The Miami Times, 91.3 WLRN, The Atlanta Voice, BET, and Variety Magazine. Gutzmore graduated...