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Upcoming Black State Conference to focus on mental health

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 21st annual Black State Conference theme is “Black Males’ Health is Wealth.” Mental health will be one of the key topics that Indiana medical experts will touch on.

The last two years have taken a toll on quite a few people when it comes to the pandemic, job loss, eviction and social unrest.

The Black community has been one of the hardest hit.

The annual event aims to not only shine light on the issues, but show that seeking help is a sign of strength.

“It’s important for Black males and males of color to understand that without their health, all of the material, all of the other things that they may feel are significant or important don’t matter,” James Garrett Jr., executive director, said.

He said that Black males are most likely to skip doctors visits. And living through a pandemic hasn’t helped much, either.

“We’ve turned a corner with this pandemic — we now better understand the importance of our health and maintaining our health,” said Garrett.

The eight-hour event is happening Tuesday at the Indiana Government Center.

Guests will participate in a variety of health and wellness panels, all while hearing from some of the state’s top Black medical professionals, including former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

“We’re going to have a medical panel discussion moderated by Dr. Virginia cane with mental health therapist experts and also some Black doctors to talk about hypertension and diabetes,” Garrett said.

On top of the pandemic, many people have experienced job loss, evictions and ongoing social unrest, Garrett said.

“Looking at your overall health and well-being being is not a sign of weakness. It’s really a sign of strength,” said Garrett.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will be there offering a drivers license amnesty program to help drivers get their licenses back. The event is free, and you can register here.

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