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North Omaha neighborhood group addresses mental health in the Black community; hopes to end stigma

Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 23:47:16-04
  • Video shows photos from the meeting with Beyond the Stigma and north Omaha area.
  • Jonny Knogood, the creator of Beyond the Stigma shares the reason behind the group and the importance of Black people and Black men addressing mental health challenges.
  • According to CDC, the death rate from suicide for black or African American men was four times greater than for African American women, in 2018.


    Asking for help can be a challenge for a lot of people. Studies show that in the Black people mental illness is around but the number of people asking for help within is low. One man is looking to bring change to the stigma of mental health in the Black community.

    "It's very easy to feel like your life doesn’t have value… when you don’t think you have value or know you have value,”said Jonny Knogood, the creator of Beyond the Stigma.

    Jonny Knogood born and raised in North Omaha works to create an open space for dialogue for Black men.

    "We open up the floor. We talk about all type of different things. We got brother that got degrees..we got brothers that got record.. we got brother that got jobs…we got brothers that are unemployed,” said Knogood.

    Knogood started the program Beyond The Stigma in 2022 to assist with the challenges of mental health. But before the program started Knogood had his own battles with mental health.

    "At 19 I was a victim of a home invasion in which I was shot. I think a lot of time, there an element of being a victim of violence but in that home invasion, I had to actually shoot on of the perpetrators,” said Knogood.

    Knogood says…this experience..left him confronting an issue he wasn’t aware of.

    "It’s not only the trauma from the hands of violence but what about the trauma of the people who inflict violence,” said Knogood.

    Stats by McClean Hospital show 25-percent of African Americans seek mental health treatment compared to 40-percent white Americans.

    Knogood says while creating a group to assist with mental health amongst the black community is important he hopes more is to come.

    "Hopefully what this does is it inspires a conversation on mental wellness…and its better if we come together,” said Knogood.

    Knogood tells me everyone that meets in the program, Beyond the Stigma is different but the one thing they have in common is being black men. The group meets every last Saturday of the month at the Malcom X Memorial Foundation.