“Samaritans has a slogan – Community & Connection. Samaritans is my connection, and I am now the bridge to my community.”
These are the words of Anthony Thompson, founder of the local organization Follow Suit, which aims to give boys and young men the tools and confidence to reach the goals they set for themselves. We had the honor of having Anthony speak at the 2023 Breakfast for Hope about our collaboration to support the mental health of his community.
We know that suicide and mental illness affect different communities in different ways, and our prevention programs must reflect that. To put that idea into action, Follow Suit and Samaritans co-developed a suicide prevention workshop called “My Brother’s Keeper” for boys and young men in Boston’s inner-city neighborhoods as part of Follow Suit’s workshop and mentoring curriculum.
The “My Brother’s Keeper” workshop serves as a space for young men to learn, express themselves, and develop skills to talk openly about mental health. The curriculum incorporates the principles of asking, listening, and seeking help, aiming to equip participants with the tools needed to support their peers and seek assistance when necessary. The workshop encourages interaction among the participants, allowing them to suggest slogans for t-shirts that can initiate conversations about mental health and well-being in their community.
At our Breakfast for Hope, Anthony was joined by two of his mentees, college sophomores Joshua Ramgeet and Katio Barbosa. Joshua highlighted how the partnership between these organizations breaks the stigma surrounding mental health and fosters an environment where young men can freely express their emotions. Katio acknowledged the transformative effect these organizations have had on his emotional awareness and emphasizes the importance of creating a supportive community for young men of color. What they each shared was nothing short of inspiring, and their speech is definitely worth watching.
We are thankful for the opportunity to continue to grow alongside incredible organizations like Follow Suit, and we are thankful for the role these organizations are playing in creating community and connection.