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Charlamagne tha God hosting mental health conference for Black men in Charleston area

Just Heal Bro

Lenard "Charlamagne tha God" McKelvey and mental health experts will host the Just Heal Bro mental health tour July 30 at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston at noon. Provided

NORTH CHARLESTON — Radio and TV personality Charlamagne tha God is returning to the Lowcountry on July 30 to host a stop on his free national mental health tour, Just Heal Bro. 

The tour is a partnership with Lenard "Charlamagne tha God" McKelvey's nonprofit, Mental Wealth Alliance, which the Moncks Corner native started in 2021 to help destigmatize mental health in Black communities across the country and expand access to culturally competent mental health services. 

The noon event at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston will include talks from guest speakers like Jay Barnett, a former professional football player and therapist, and actor Lamman Rucker, along with other mental health experts.

Executive producer for the tour, Hope Allen, said the event is free and exclusively for men ages 16 and older. Over 150 men have registered to attend the North Charleston event so far. 

"This is about building brotherhood," Allen said. 

According to the Annual Review of Public Health, suicide was the third-leading cause of death for Black men ages 15-24 in 2019.  And according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. 

It's one of the reasons Barnett transitioned from a career in football — he had a brief stint with the Green Bay Packers in 2006 before playing for the Tulsa Talons and Tennessee Vipers — to becoming a licensed therapist and author. Barnett also authored the journal Just Heal Bro to help men discover their voice and express their thoughts. He said it was one of the tools that helped him navigate through a lot of difficult times. 

"I survived two suicide attempts," Barnett told The Post and Courier.  

Barnett said he started therapy after his second suicide attempt. "It was really a life hack for me," said Barnett. "I was able to discover a new version of myself."

Originally from Mississippi, Barnett grew up in a very spiritual household.  

"My father was a pastor," Barnett said. "We prayed about things but we never addressed them."

Charleston is the ninth stop on the Just Heal Bro tour. The event plans to stop in destinations across the South, including Tennessee, Florida and Louisiana. 

To register, visit www.justheal.co. 

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 Follow Zharia Jeffries on Twitter @Zharia_Jeffries.