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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 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.

What's Inside

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The Invisible Ache is one more example of all the reasons that I came to love Courtney B. Vance. What drew me to him is his willingness to be a servant, to help and be there for others. What greater gift can one receive than the message that you are not alone and that there is support. You just have to be open to receiving and welcoming it. What Dr. Robin and Courtney offer in these pages are comfort, answers, personal stories, and a lot of love for Black boys and men. My hope is that The Invisible Ache will become a cherished book on countless reading lists and the many lives that are blessed will span the distance from the Earth to the rainbow.” —Angela Bassett, Award-winning Actress, Director & Producer
"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 males 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
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