Manhood Summit aims to help men struggling with mental illness

MIDDLETOWN — A conference on mental health in Middlesex Community College is intended to provide a space for men of color and others to share their unique experiences and create a peer support system to help express their feelings.

The Greenlight Manhood Summit, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at 100 Training Hill Road, is free and tickets are limited. All are invited.

Strategic communications and planning consultant Shayla Patterson of Middletown organized the conference after recognizing the need for such a support system because of her husband’s struggles with mental health and PTSD, she said.

“The need to have a space to be able to come together to do a basic mental health checkup with each other extended from the journey of watching my husband go through the process of managing his own mental health,” Patterson explained. .

She and her husband, Veltris Patterson, are both veterans. Her spouse also suffers from drug addiction, she added.

In order to understand what her husband and other men are going through, Shayla Patterson said, she consulted with her father, whose own father was “killed, tragically, and, being the eldest son, he immediately took on those roles in Household chores”.

These are enlightening conversations, she says.

At the time, his father had not had the opportunity to talk to anyone about his problems. Additionally, Patterson added, her father felt a social stigma about sharing his pain.

“Particularly in our black and brown community, the stigma is real. … He didn’t know how to handle it or express it,” she explained.

The goal of the day is not just to bring men together, but to “provide them with the space to allow themselves to fully exist in their manhood,” Shayla Patterson said.

“Being a black man in general brings its own unique twist to things – what other men endure day to day trying to run a household and be present in a society that is ultimately unstable,” he said. she stated.

It is very important for the women in these men’s lives to offer support and encourage their husbands to seek treatment, she added.

Men will experience and come away with greater self-awareness, tools and skills, be connected to resources and create a network of peer support, Shayla Patterson said.

“The BIPOC population is at higher risk for not knowing and using tools and resources to help manage stressors that impact their mental health,” Patterson said.

The event will include panel discussions, lunch and snacks, breakout rooms, a keynote speaker, podcaster Ryan Lamont Jones from Atlanta, and a comedy show.

The conference is being conducted in association with Middlesex Health and Connecticut Valley Hospital.

Tickets are limited. To reserve a place, go to

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