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Flanner House opens ‘Morningstar Afrocentric Wellness Center’ to support community

Multicultural Spotlight: Flanner House opens mental wellness center

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mental health support is expanding on the near northwest side.

Flanner House, a nonprofit organization, held the grand opening for its new Morningstar Afrocentric Wellness Center. Representatives say cultural competency and trauma-informed care will guide the work.

“To finally get to this day is pretty exciting,” said Brandon Cosby, executive director of Flanner House.

A crowd of community servants and stake holders joined for the grand opening. It’s another arm of the 125-year-old agency.

“We’ve been conditioned to think we have to solve our problems on our own,” said Cosby. “We’ve been made to believe that if we’re struggling with things, it’s a sign of weakness.”

Cosby is the visionary behind the idea. With support, he helped breath life into this new mental health facility, and he has been able to bring direct access to a community often used to limited access.

“It’s great because we have a lot of people that go through a lot of stuff,” said David Reed, a supporter for the Morningstar Afrocentric Wellness Center.

Morningstar is a shift from the norm. Bringing in Black and brown staffing to help this predominately Black and brown community.

“My advice to them is never think you’re alone in life because you have people here,” said Reed to future visitors.

Representatives cite the value in cultural competency in offering support and making mental health breakthroughs.

“We both agreed that we were going to be purposeful and intentional to provide services that Black and brown folks can relate to, because that’s the foundation,” said Bwana Clements, founder and director of the Morningstar Afrocentric Wellness Center.

Creating the facility in a home environment is also intentional. Taking away the feeling of an institution to up the level of comfort.

“In every community, there are commonalities, there are shared experiences, and there are unspoken understanding that you don’t have to go through with that population, or with that community,” said Clements.

Statistics show it’s about 19 times harder for Black men to find mental health services compared to white women, and Black men are 30 times more likely to be misdiagnosed as bipolar or schizophrenia when they are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.

“When you look at the presence of violence, when you look at the prisons, the psychological implications of day-to-day, battling against institutional racism and systemic oppression. Those things begin to take a toll,” said Cosby.

Representatives say they’ve already been doing some work ahead of the grand opening, but will be partnering with other groups to expand the work.