Maurice Clarett: Mental Health Champion Scores From The Red Zone - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine Summer 2019 Issue

BE Modern Man: Maurice Clarett

Entrepreneur and speaker; 35; Founder and CEO of The Red Zone

Twitter: @ReeseClarett13; Instagram: @MauriceClarett

I am the founder of The Red Zone. After overcoming my own personal challenges with mental illness and substance abuse through mental health treatment and professional assistance, I knew there were many people in my community and communities like mine who would significantly benefit from the same services.

This led to me developing The Red Zone and becoming a mental health champion. My organization is a behavioral health and substance abuse agency currently servicing more than 1,500 youth and adults in North and Central Ohio who are impacted by drug and alcohol abuse, low-income disparities, and mental illness. My agency works to not only provide direct services but offers education to help people understand mental illness and ways to maintain their mental and emotional health.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?

While I was in prison 10 years ago, I designed a vision for my life that I knew I would manifest one day. I am most proud of the fact that I figured out the importance of mind, body, and spirit, which has put me in a better position to help myself, my loved ones, and my community.

HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?

After a series of personal setbacks, which interfered with my destined NFL career, I stood at a crossroads in my life with two paths to choose from; either succumb to the challenges or overcome them. I chose the latter, compiling the lessons I learned throughout his tumultuous journey of being dismissed from The Ohio State University and 7 ½ year prison sentence to develop a behavioral health agency—The Red Zone—and become recognized as a mental health champion.

It is my struggles that have become the catalyst for developing this agency. I learned that when I am focused and driven, I can accomplish anything.

WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?

I didn’t have a single male role model growing up. I’ve just always had the ability to admire traits from both everyday people and celebrities that I applied to my life. I took hard work, great attitude, toughness, and patience from an assortment of people.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?

I define manhood as having the ability to be a great steward of your personal responsibilities, learning to exercise great character on a daily basis, and giving back to pay it forward to others.

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

The best advice anyone has ever given me was to focus on the things that I can control in life.

HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?

As a mental health champion, I visit college campuses and universities across the country and share my story with young men, who have all been through some of the most traumatic events in life that you could imagine. I believe me being transparent about my flaws and setbacks, and offering real insight on what mental illness looks like, is a large way I give back. I believe me living my truth offers a lot of these young men a vision of themselves off the court or field.

AS A BUSY MODERN MAN, HOW DO YOU UNWIND?

I enjoy taking great care of my body, soul, and mind. Lifting weights has always been an opportunity for me to focus my mind, body, and soul. Even after an early workout and a day of work, I will unwind with lifting weights before bed.

WHAT PRACTICES, TOOLS, BOOKS, ETC. DO YOU RELY ON FOR YOUR SUCCESS?

I am an avid reader. I read books and listen to audiobooks frequently. One of the most influential pieces of literature that I believe everyone should read is A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman.

I am so grateful for every opportunity. The Red Zone is much more than an organization, it’s a vision to help inform people like me who are silently battling mental illness alone, out of shame. Every day my organization and I, as mental health champion, are working to empower people to take full charge of their mental and emotional health, without the stigma.

BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.