Black Fathering and Mental Health

Black Fathers’ Narratives on Raising Their Children Across the Family Life Cycle

by Michael D. Hannon (Author)
©2022 Textbook XX, 150 Pages


This edited volume is the first work purposefully designed to amplify the voices of Black men in communicating their mental health needs and challenges while fathering in their families and communities. Dr. Michael Hannon has convened a group of Black fathers and aspiring fathers, who are also professional counselors, and they offer unique and untapped perspectives about the needs, challenges, and victories of Black fathering across the family life cycle in the context of an anti-Black world. In each chapter, the contributors offer counselors and other mental health professionals a resource to assist them in providing culturally relevant and responsive support to Black fathers at various points across the family life cycle and more comprehensively understand the circumstances that might prompt—and prevent—Black fathers to seek counseling support.
"Dr. Michael Hannon and his colleagues have broken new ground with a unique and timely contribution to the literature of Black fathering and anti-racism. Through their lived experience as sons and fathers, combined with their education and experience as mental health counselors, they are transparent, vulnerable, proud, reflective, articulate, committed, engaged Black men who thoroughly disrupt the racist trope of the absent Black father. Their lived experiences are diverse and reflective of the broad spectrum of family constellations in our society. I read this manuscript as an Arab American, having raised two Biracial Black children with special needs. The fears expressed about their children experiencing the dangers of racism and white supremacy resonated deeply in my heart from when I held my children for the first time. Each contributor includes reflections on how counseling helped or could have helped their fathering. Hannon’s concluding chapter is actionable recommendations for counselors and other mental health professionals for working with Black fathers. In sum, this book will instruct and inspire the reader with the resilience and determination of Black men and fathers."
—Robert Naseef, PhD, Alternative Choices, Psychologist, Author of Autism in the Family: Caring and Coping Together and Special Children, Challenged Parents: The Struggles and Rewards of Raising a Child with a Disability
"Black Fathering and Mental Health is a rich, nuanced account of the reality of Black fathering in the context of their families, neighborhoods, villages, and larger society. While reading, you feel like you are sitting next to these men as they share their innermost thoughts and feelings, and their lessons learned, about the strengths, challenges, and triumphs of Black fatherhood. As a counseling psychologist, I see this book as an inspiring look inwards into one’s own community, telling the story as only insiders can. It is an essential text for counselors and any mental health professional working to understand and support Black fathers or fathers-to-be. In fact, I would argue that it is a must read for anyone who has Black men and boys in their lives."
—Muninder Kaur Ahluwalia, PhD, Professor, Montclair State University, Author of Taking Action: Creating Social Change through Strength, Solidarity, Strategy, and Sustainability
"Rarely have the voices of African Americans fathers been recognized. This text highlights the lived experiences of courageous African American men. Each chapter provides a window into the inner lives of African American fathers in ways that help professional counselors directly meet their mental health needs. This needs to be a required text for practicum and internship counseling courses."
—Carla Adkison-Johnson, PhD, LPC, Department Chair and Professor, Western Michigan University and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
"This beautiful book makes me want to be somebody’s father. It overflows with love, impressive vulnerability, inspiring examples, and useful guidance. It is a must-read for every Black man who is or aspires to be a father, as well as everyone who aims to effectively support them."
—Shaun Harper, PhD, Clifford and Betty Allen Professor, University of Southern California, Author of College Men and Masculinities: Theories, Research and Implications for Practice and Advancing Black Male Student Success from Preschool Through PhD

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction (Dr. Michael D. Hannon)
  • Chapter One Expectant Straight Black Fatherhood (Dr. Tyce Nadrich)
  • Chapter Two Aspiring Black Fatherhood from a Same Gender Loving Lens (Dr. Alfonso Ferguson)
  • Chapter Three Black Fathering for Early Education Readiness (Dr. S. Kent Butler)
  • Chapter Four Engaged, Non-residential Black Fathering for Early Education Readiness (Dr. Sam Steen)
  • Chapter Five Fathering Biracial Children in the 21st Century (Dr. Linwood G. Vereen)
  • Chapter Six Fathering Children with Developmental Differences (Dr. Eric Williams)
  • Chapter Seven Renegotiating Relationships with Emerging Adolescents (Rev. Robert C. Rogers)
  • Chapter Eight Supporting Adolescent Mental Health (Dr. Michael D. Hannon)
  • Chapter Nine Fathering Adolescents for Post-secondary Success (Rodney N. West)
  • Chapter Ten Black Adult Children on Their Black Fathers: A Retrospective (Dr. Gelawdiyos M. Haile, Dr. Amber S. Haley, Dr. Amber R. Norman, Dr. S. Kent Butler)
  • Chapter Eleven For Counselors by a Counselor: Concluding Thoughts on Counseling Black Fathers (Dr. Michael D. Hannon)
  • Afterword: Black Fathering Counter-stories (Dr. Ivory A. Toldson)
  • Contributors

←x | xi→


Rev. Byron L. Hannon

When Michael called me because there was an issue on which he wanted my opinion, I did not expect him to ask me to write this foreword. I assumed that he, my son, was interested in my thoughts on something that mattered to him. It would not have been the first time we have had this kind of conversation; it is a natural extension of our relationship, one that I still cherish even though he is well into his adulthood.

I have written thousands of pages as a student, a leader in a corporate setting, a minister, and a blog writer. I have helped an author-friend, serving as an unofficial editor of her book. I was not expecting this; being asked was nowhere on my mental radar, but I am honored to offer some thoughts with the hope that it will be a worthy opening to the stories that follows.

All of you readers should understand that I cannot help but to be biased in my comments; Michael Hannon is my son. I ask you to be forbearing, believing that you will eventually make your own judgment about this entire work and by, extension, him. I have known my son from that early October morning in his hospital delivery room. Since that day, he and I have spent countless hours together during every stage of his life whether in the context of family interactions, church fellowship, academic life, and during the times when he and I were each other’s sole company. I fondly recall those many hours in the car headed to and from wrestling matches and baseball and soccer games, working in the yard around the house, and more recently having breakfasts at a local diner. I have viewed each of ←xi | xii→these times, particularly when he was a boy, as opportunities to listen and, where I felt it was needed, to impart some bit of knowledge (and hopefully, wisdom) because I knew the day would come when he would need to stand on his own in a world that would seek to sway him toward its various and often conflicting directions, a world which would not always value him as a person.

I have watched my son develop his ability to understand, express and pursue his passions. I have watched as he developed the ability to weather storms. I have watched him become his own man. I have watched him mature and grow older as I have grown old. One thing I can say through all of this is he has always had my deepest respect. And my love. I like the man Michael has become and is becoming. I say the latter because I believe health requires continual growth that is independent of age.

As with all people and relationships, there have been bumps in the road, some significant enough to wrestle with openly and others more suited to silent waiting. I recall the concern I had when he announced his decision to transition from a career focus in student life to the academic side of the academy. My wife, Michael’s mother, has long been fond of saying, “Sometimes you have to take a step backward in order to take two forward.” Was he ready to take the backward step, to make the sacrifices, the big sacrifices, to attain his goal? Had he counted the cost? It turns out, much to my relief and gladness, he was ready; he had not only counted the cost, he paid it. Of course, none of this was done in a vacuum; he had and has a supportive wife, children, extended family, and friends as encouragers and helping hands. They are individually and collectively worthy of acknowledgement. I am deeply grateful for them and all who helped him on this journey. Now, I have the privilege of watching my son, a father, a Black father, pour his life into his children, my grandchildren.

This book is about Black fathering and, therefore, is first and foremost about fathering in all of its forms. There comes a time in every parent’s life when it is necessary to stand back and allow your child to follow their dreams and for others to invest in your child’s life as well as have the opportunity to make assessments about the person in whom you have invested so much. Those evaluations about competency, commitment, passion, preparedness, and core integrity occur implicitly and explicitly, over and over again in an unceasing rhythm. It certainly has been my privilege and my responsibility to play a significant role, along with others, in preparing my children for this. This earnest attempt is what I believe what fathers should do. It is a return- producing investment, not an expense, and this book is one visible manifestation.


XX, 150
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2022 (March)
Black men Men Black fathers Fathers Mental health Counseling Family life Family life cycle Black fathering and mental health Michael D. Hannon
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2022. XX, 150 pp., 23 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Michael D. Hannon (Author)

Michael D. Hannon is Associate Professor of Counseling at Montclair State University. He has over 20 years of counseling experience and his research focuses on Black men’s wellness. Dr. Hannon’s doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision is from the Pennsylvania State University.


Title: Black Fathering and Mental Health
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
170 pages