Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General identifies mental health as a "cornerstone of health" (p. 458). Although it was published in 1999, the report has not lost its currency. Recent national emphasis on health disparities does not overlook the importance of mental health in easing the burden of disease that is disproportionately borne by African Americans. Functioning and productiviry for individuals and communities depend not only on the absence of mental illness, but the presence of mental health. The four studies included in this volume address mental health, a critical issue that affects African American men of all ages. The diverse yet complementary perspec­ tives represented here reflect future directions for Challenge, as we seek to broaden our base of contributors and readers.

Thomas J. Prince in "Multi-Cultural Psychology, Communiry Mental Health, and Social Transformation," writes as a practitioner and theorist-researcher. He makes the point that although mental health may be identifiable as an individual phenomenon, it is not an individualized phenomenon. The causes, consequences and preferred therapeutic intervention models arc all social in nature. Prince's skill­ ful synthesis of insights from liberation psychology, cultural anthro­ pology, and interventive methods offers an appropriate background for Vernon G. Smith's "Strategies for Educators: A Six-Step Pro­ gram." Both Prince and Smith focus on solutions that are grounded in research but also include ideological foundations that call for a commitment to strong, viable communities and active engagement in promoting mental health. Smith stresses the importance of self­ esteem in educational achievement. His program for educators iden tifies some special needs of African American male students and the critical roles of teacher preparation and community involvement in promoting academic excellence.

The next two articles report studies of alcohol use by African American men. jack K. Martin, Steven A. Tuch, Paul A. Roman, and jeff Dixon examine problem drinking in "Patterns of Problem Drinking Among Employed African American Men." Such studies of stressful life events have received less research attention than stud­ ies of mental disorders. The findings of Martin et al that suggest a role for identiry and communiry  (through religious involvement) support Smith's emphasis on self-concept and Prince's focus on com­ munity, both as therapy and as context for intervention. The great­ est increase in substance use disorders is among adolescents aged 15-24 and the social and economic costs associated with alcohol and substance use continue to rise (HHS 1999:166, 369). Didre Brown Taylor's study, "Malt Liquor Beer Related Knowledge, Influ­ ences, and Drinking Styles Among an Inner City Sample of African American Men," addresses the fact that African American men con­ sume one-third of all malt liquor beer sold in the United States. She directs our attention to the need for qualitative ethnographic stud­ ies that can provide the kind of depth and community understand­ ing that are necessary for the culturally-based interventions suggested by Prince. She also calls for comparative studies of women and men, recognizing once again the community context for mental  health and mental health promotion. The diverse yet complementary per­ spectives represented here reflect both continuity with the past and new directions for Challenge, as we seek to broaden our base of con­ tributors and readers.

Finally, we must acknowledge the extraordinary work of Dr. Obie Clayton, Director of the Morehouse Research Institute. As the founder of Challenge, I have only provided the concept. It is Dr. Clayton's leadership and  commitment, along with the invaluable support of Ms. lretha Johnson Stoney, Editorial Assistant, that have allowed Challenge to thrive and grow to its present state. We antici­ pate a thriving future for the journal and your continued support for our efforts.


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