EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) — Breaking the stigma and raising awareness when it comes to seeking help for mental health.

The abc27 News team spoke to behavioral health experts in a chapter in Lancaster County and they say it’s common in African American homes to suppress and not reach out for help but that can trigger several stressors.

“We always talk about in crisis, let’s talk about before you get to crisis,” Administrator Tonya Porter said.

Porter who is with Retreat Behavioral Health says maintaining mental health includes good sleep patterns, proper meals, and life balance.

Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here.

Yet, Porter says it’s important for African Americans to have these important conversations.

“Now when we get into crisis mode, we got to start being willing to ask for help and not push it down, especially in the black and African American communities we’re taught not to talk about things so that’s the first thing, having the conversation and when we’re starting to feel overwhelmed,” Porter said.

Porter says her team will do the best they can to break down walls in the black community and shatter myths about seeking help so that way professionals can step in.

“When we think especially in the black and African American community, we think of therapy we think of a couch and somebody that looks like Sigmund Freud and that’s not necessarily true, it’s usually it’s someone that looks like me, somebody that looks like even you, who’s sitting there and who honestly wants to unpack some of that baggage you’ve been carrying,” Porter said.

If that baggage keeps building porter says that can lead to addiction, health complications, and depression which can even affect children in the home.

“So it gets down on how we deal with things especially in family circles especially if you have a household rather black or African American woman is the head of household and there’s not male figure especially for boys too but also on girls,” Porter said.