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November is Men’s Health Awareness Month and I cannot think of a better advocate for Men’s health, especially mental health, than Reggie Ford.

Reggie’s bio reads like a Who’s Who of young professionals. Undergraduate and Graduate degrees from Vanderbilt. Recognized as one of Nashville’s Black 40 Under 40 as well as Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Nominated for Forbes 30 Under 30. Featured in the Top 100 People in Finance magazine. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Activist. The list goes on (truly, it does).

It might surprise you, then, to read Reggie’s memoir, Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction: Breaking the Curse of Intergenerational Trauma as a Black Man in America.

P.T.S.D. a story of his childhood and early adult years in Nashville; a heartbreaking look at Reggie’s own experience with poverty, intergenerational mental health issues, and systemic racism and injustice. Yet, this story is one of optimism and compassion. A story intended to show that mental health has a real and demonstrable effect on not just Black Americans, but all people, and can be overcome.

Any attempt I might make to summarize Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction would fall woefully short. There is no one who can tell Reggie’s story like Reggie.

Oftentimes when working in advocacy and justice, there are stand-alone statistics and unbelievably sad stories. Both are true and necessary. But it is difficult to connect with statistics and can be hard to imagine overcoming mountains of obstacles. Bridging the gap from pain and hardship, to compassion and healing is what Perseverance Through Severe Trauma is all about!

This is precisely why I love Reggie’s book. He tells his story with compassion, grace, and kindness; for himself, his family, and his community. Readers can relate to many of Reggie’s stories. You can imagine what it was like for young Reggie to move away from his friends in East Nashville to South Nashville. You can relate to the excitement of a new baby sister. Or the sadness of parents splitting up. And who doesn’t have lessons learned from a grandparent (Big Momma)! Those universal experiences help readers of different backgrounds connect with Reggie as he then details more difficult traumas like racism and poverty. It’s a deeply personal and reflective account that invites readers in, without judgment or pretense.

As we continue through Men’s Health Awareness Month, Tennessee TeleDerm will be sharing some mental health tips from Reggie himself! Stay tuned! A don’t miss out… pick up a copy of Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction: Breaking the Curse of Intergenerational Trauma as a Black Man in America.

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