Local Playwright Focuses On Mental Health For Men Of Color

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C  —  Playwright and author Michael Garcia said what started as a book of poetry transformed into a play highlighting an important topic — mental health for men of color. 

” Writing from my own perspective of dealing with mental health, dealing with depression, seeing it in my family and my community, it was just a natural and organic evolution,” Garcia said. 

 Garcia — said the play ‘Stuff inside my head’ uses the stories of three black men in Harlem  to encourage men to talk about  their  mental health. 

” I deal with it through the storytelling, through the conflict and through the acknowledgment that we need to do something and we need to help one another,” Garcia said. 

Actors Jonathan Caldwell, Jonavan Adams and Justin Peoples each play a role in exploring a topic Garcia said is often overlooked in the black community. 

 ” We used to hear terms like man up. Suck it up. Get some rest. You’ll feel better in the morning and there is a stigma with mental health in our communities.”  

   The message is timely,  in light of the recent death of Stephen “Twitch” Boss the dancer and long-time DJ for “The Ellen Degeneres Show”…. who died by suicide in December.

“Every time you saw him he was cheery, he was happy, he was doing dance videos,” actor Jonavan Adams said. “ So it’s important for us to again recognize that is okay to not be okay and talk about those things.” 

It’s a message Garcia wants to resonate with his audience long after the play is over.

“It’s okay to hurt, but navigating through that and getting help and getting on the other side is the  important part,” Justin Peoples said. 

” You have to know what’s best for you and getting that mental health and getting that help that you need is very important,” Jonathan Caldwell said. 

Its also  a call to action to speak up.

” I  think for me its important that this play sheds light on the fact that its okay to say I  need help,” Garcia said. 

The play will be performed on March 31 at 7:30 at the Parr Center on Central Piedmont campus.