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INDIANAPOLIS — May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States.

Mental health is a topic that was stigmatized for so long but now is at the center of conversations as the country looks to open more resources and education opportunities.

One Indianapolis pastor is bringing resources to his congregation to help the growing issues surrounding mental health specifically in the black community.

“People are hurting and sometimes people don’t know where to turn, or they have shame and are afraid to ask for help,” Dr. Elect Star, a licensed mental health counselor said.

Behind the doors of Grace Apostolic Church, Star spent the evening bringing information to the community both in-person and virtually.

Star said the pandemic has motivated people to get help and address those feelings and emotions that they have put on the back burner for so long.

“More people are aware of anxiety more than ever and depression because they’re experiencing them,” Star said. “They know what fear feels like now. They get the worry.”

According to Gateway to Mental Health Services, a long-standing negative stigma surrounding mental health discourages more than 80% of Black Americans from seeking treatment.

“Let’s just be realistic. We haven’t had the privileges. So how can you take advantage of a privilege you don’t have,” Star said.

“I look at mental health as any other illness,” Brenda Gibbs-Golder, a member at Grace Apostolic Church said.

Golder said she had to educate herself when she was dealing with her mental health, but she’s excited the church decided to take matters into its own hands and bring resources to those in need.

“There is help for that,” Golder said. “So why not utilize those resources? To me you can eliminate a lot of heartache down the road if you tackle it upfront.”

Read more from WRTV here