GREENFIELD, Ind. – Pastor Mark Wright started Brandywine Community Church as a small group in his living room 27 years ago. Now, the congregation in Greenfield has a permanent home, and is adding a new center to their church to help those in need, and to break down the stigma of mental health.
"There's a story in the scripture where it talks about… this guy who is half dead along the road and all these people, all these religious leaders are walking by," said Gina Colclazier with the church. "That just really struck us. We can’t be the church that just walks by.”
A year and a half ago, Colclazier and other members of the church were hoping to start a new program targeting a need in their community. They surveyed the community and heard interest in a mental health center.
“We discovered that there were arenas within mental health where there were gaps," Colclazier said. "One of those was just a place for people to quickly go in and get help.”
That need was made even more prevalent when one of their own church members silently battling with depression took his own life.
"It was something that was on the radar screen, but it was just hard to get into help,” Colclazier said.
So, the church decided they wanted to create a place where people can take that first step, and ask for help.
“When people are suffering and they reach out, one of the first places they will call is still the local church," said pastor Mark Wright. "So we’re like 'hey, we’ve gotta be ready!'”
The church came up with the Wellspring Center. They’ve trained around 70 volunteers to help those with mental health issues. People can come in to talk, learn about local resources, and even take part in peer led group sessions.
“The church needs to be at the forefront," Wright said. "We need to help remove the stigma associated with mental health.”
By providing a place for evidence and faith based help, the members of Brandywine are hoping to break down the stigma, urging those in need to get help before it’s too late.
“We can't sit back silently anymore," Colclazier said. "People's lives are at stake, and we need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."
The Wellspring Center does have five peer led group sessions that run for 15 weeks. You can learn about all their programs by visiting their website HERE.