Episode 42: Providing Culturally Sensitive Teletherapy to Increase the Life Expectancy of Black Men

Hello listeners! Welcome back to another episode of Tech Forward. This week, I spoke with Kevin Dedner, Founder and CEO of Henry Health. Henry Health's mobile app provides self-care and mental health support through culturally sensitive teletherapy, serving the population with the lowest life expectancy in the U.S. — black men. Kevin is an experienced public health leader, and through Henry Health, he is committed to leveraging the power of technology to add 10 years to the life expectancy of black men in the next 25 years by focusing on their emotional and mental health. Today on the show, Kevin will be sharing with us some of the challenges black men face when receiving mental health support, and how his product helps address that need.

“There is a weight,” Kevin says, “a stress associated just with being a black man.” Unaddressed, that stress in combination with untreated mental health issues plays a significant role in the low life expectancy of black men in the U.S. While they do seek solutions, black men face considerable hurdles in receiving culturally competent mental health care. Behind Henry Health is Kevin’s vision of a trusted source for providing mental health services and self care support for black men. At first, Kevin approached this issue from an academic angle, drawing on his experience working in public health and researching the social determinants of health. Along the way, however, he had his own experience with depression, through which he discovered “that my suffering could be helpful to others.”

Kevin’s first hand experience with depression has been crucial in the development of a product that truly addresses the emotional and mental health needs of black men in the U.S. In fact, he brings many facets of both his personal and his professional life to his work with Henry Health, because he sees his entrepreneurship journey as a mirror of life. “My entire career has prepared me for the work I’m doing now. But when I first started to think about what I could do to address the mental health needs of black men, I met a lot of resistance. As an entrepreneur, you know this happens, and you’re more in tune with it. If you can push through that initial resistance, you will find what you need to advance your idea.”

Through Henry Health, users have access to teletherapy with professionals who have undergone training to understand the unique experiences of black men in America. They also have the option to participate in moderated groups where they can discuss issues related to stress in the workplace, single parenting, relationship issues, and self care. Also offered within the app are daily motivational messages from lecturer and researcher Dr. Dennis Kimbro. When it comes to utilizing social media in a positive way, “sharing these messages and affirmations really does play a tremendous role in people’s current condition and mental state.”

Kevin, thank you so much for coming onto the show this week to share the important work you’re doing through Henry Health with our listeners. Thank you as well to everyone out there listening, reviewing, and sharing the show. See you next week!


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