The Invisible Ache: Black Men Identifying Their Pain and Reclaiming Their Power (Hardcover)
"A thoughtful, wise, empathetic book that has the capacity to save lives. " (Kirkus)
"...an inspiring story of what [Black men] can achieve personally and professionally when they have the tools and support necessary to examine their pain and find their joy." (New York Journal of Books)
A moving combination of memoir, psychology, and practical tools, this book offers Black men guidance and support for reclaiming mental well-being and finding whole, full-hearted living.
Early in his career, actor Courtney B. Vance lost his father to suicide. Recently, he lost his godson to the same fate. Still, as mental health discourse hits the mainstream, it leaves the most vulnerable out of the conversation: Black men.
In America, we teach that strength means holding back tears and shaming your own feelings. In the Black community, these pressures are especially poignant. Poor mental health outcomes-- including diagnoses of depression and anxiety, reliance on prescription drugs, and suicide-- have skyrocketed in the past decade. Institutionalized racism, microagressions, and stress caused by socioeconomic factors have led Black individuals to face worse mental health outcomes than any other demographic.
In this book, Courtney B. Vance seeks to change this trajectory. Along with professional expertise from famed psychologist Dr. Robin L. Smith (popularly known as “Dr. Robin”), Courtney B. Vance explores issues of grief, relationships, identity, and race through the telling of his own most formative experiences. Together, Courtney and Dr. Robin provide a guide for Black men navigating life’s ups and downs, reclaiming mental well-being, and examining broken pieces to find whole, full-hearted living. Self-care is an act of revolution. It’s time to revolutionize mental health in the Black community.
Dr. Robin L. Smith is the #1 bestselling author of Lies at the Altar: The Truth About Great Marriages, as well as Hungry: The Truth About Being Full, a sought-after speaker, experienced media personality, ordained minister, and host of SiriusXM’s The Dr. Robin Show, who addresses today’s most pressing societal challenges through fearless truth-telling. As a licensed psychologist and mental health champion known for her signature four-step prescription Wake Up! Show Up! Grow Up! Rise Up!™, she brings a uniquely healing perspective to our nation’s most daunting social justice and mental health issues: from systemic racism and racial violence, to grief and loss, to discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, to recovering and rebounding as a nation following crises. She holds a PhD in counseling psychology from Temple University and a master’s degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
"Brother Vance’s spirit of compassion and generosity is an emotional house built on the foundations of love, faith, humility, and courage. Where others may hide, Courtney stands bravely in the light, telling his story as a means to help others. In The Invisible Ache, Courtney and Dr. Robin selflessly extend hands and hearts to those seeking a place to receive a welcome balm for the soul."—Presiding Bishop Emeritus Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., West Angeles Church of God in Christ and Lady Mae Blake
"Mental health in the Black community has not been embraced but is extremely important and should be discussed. For Black men, there is no better voice of compassion and understanding than Courtney B. Vance to help initiate this healing journey. Together, with Dr. Robin, Courtney shares his own journey to illustrate that vulnerability, truth, and faith are direct pathways to a happier, more fulfilling life. The Invisible Ache is for men of all ages, and the women who love them, to help them overcome their struggles and live a life of sustained purpose and worth."—Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Businessman & Philanthropist
“Mental health has become an epidemic among the Black male community, but they are so often left out of the conversation. Dr. Robin and Courtney B. Vance are tackling this issue head on in a compassionate, educational and actionable way that will positively impact the lives of so many. Silent suffering doesn't have to be the status quo and The Invisible Ache will provide solace and healing to those who seek healing and understanding.”
—Debra Lee, former CEO of BET, founder of Leading Women Defined
“In The Invisible Ache, actor Courtney B. Vance and psychologist Dr. Robin L. Smith insightfully examine the place of mental health in the lives of Black men, shining a light not only on the challenges they so often face, but on the importance of support and connection. By sharing his personal story of losing his father to suicide and how he ultimately engaged with therapy, learning to 'sit in silence and wait for the water to clear,' Courtney’s willingness to be vulnerable is a strength that lends an important voice to the mental health conversation. Combined with Dr. Robin’s clinical perspective and practical tips, this book serves as an important guide not only for Black men, but for anyone who has struggled to find understanding and hope.”—Dr. Christine Yu Moutier, Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
"When I think back to my younger self, who needed practical guidance and an elder who understood the direction that would've healed me, I wish I could've gotten my hands on The Invisible Ache. The medicine within these words will ease pain, inspire the youth, and give us permission to heal in the way we all deserve."—Sylvester McNutt III, Bestselling author of Care Package: A Path To Deep Healing