Kevin Dedner is co-founder and CEO of Henry Health. Henry Health is a digital community that provides self-care support and culturally sensitive teletherapy. Henry Health’s initial target audience is black men who have the lowest life expectancy of any population. In fact, the stated goal of Henry Health is to increase the life expectancy of black men by ten years within the next twenty-five years.
Kevin has over 15 years of experience in public health (he also has a Masters in Public Health degree) – He’s worked on a variety of issues including childhood obesity, HIV/AIDS, and tobacco control. He has worked with numerous public health entities including the nation’s largest public health foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Links mentioned in the show:
Kevin’s Blog Post: Bernard Tyson was our leader, Why do Black Men die so soon?
Dr. James Sherman’s 1994 Report: John Henryism and The Health of African-Americans
HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT:
- Kevin Dedner is an expert in public health and has been a public health advocate for many years. He has worked on all of the major public health issues over the last decade from HIV to childhood obesity and tobacco control.
- Kevin shares his own experience with mental health. He talks about how mental exhaustion led to depression and a search for help via therapy.
- He worked closely with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to address health disparities. In that space Kevin became keenly aware of black men having the lowest life expectancy of any population. He talks about how in all of his career he never heard anyone talking about this even though the data has existed for quite a while. The deeper he looked he found a correlation between mental health and unmanaged stress.
- Untreated mental health is a driver for chronic disease and premature death.
- After dealing with his own depression and realizing it was stress that really drove him into that depression, he wanted to do something about it and found his way to helping found Henry Health to help black men with their mental health.
- We talked extensively about how we get more black men to focus on their mental health, and how we get society to focus on this problem. Kevin talks about how we need to teach people how to use tools like meditation, breathing techniques, etc. to manage our stress and mental health.
- Kevin talks about Dr. Sherman’s research that shows that black men are living life at a higher sense of awareness. Many times, people are unconscious of this. This causes blood to move through our veins faster, strains organs, weakens immune systems and more. This is why we must solve the mental health issue in order to extend the life expectancy of black men.
- We talked about how we can get more black men to become aware of their need for help with their mental health, increase their access to care, and providing access to services and content that help black men improve their mental well-being.
- Kevin explains that while mental health products are exploding on the market, there are very few, if any, culturally sensitive offerings for populations such as black men, or the LGBTQ community.
- Kevin talks about where Henry Health is in their business life cycle as a seed stage startup, what traction they have had so far, and their strategy for bringing their solution to market.
- Kevin explains that a lot of people seek culturally competent solutions for mental health regardless of being apart of a certain population or not.
- For something to become a public health issue, we have to have the political leadership pointing government resources at the problem. We believe that mental health will be the public health issue of the next decade. We do need to see political will and change though, for this to happen.