George Floyd's death sparks need for mental health help

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- The death of George Floyd became a worldwide rallying cry for racial justice, but for some, it also sparked a need for help.

Dr. Christiana Awosan, founder of Ibisanmi Relational Health in Maplewood, New Jersey, says she's been seeing clients with trauma that can include feelings of depression, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts.

"We saw an increase in in our practice about close to 50%," she said. "We've been hearing a lot of our clients say, 'I don't want to go out of my house. I'm afraid when family members step out.'"

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She says the best way to deal with the pain is to talk about it.

"When we don't externalize, it is sits in our bodies," she said.

Also, it doesn't have to be with a therapist. You can also try a friend.

"I mean, it's been it's been triggering," said Aqeela Sherrills, with the Newark Community Street Team.

He's also seen a rise in people seeking therapy.

"We opened the trauma center in September," he said. "We've already seen over 170 people...Really says that folks are really reaching out to look for support."

Experts say Black people, culturally, have avoided seeking therapy for years due to the stigma.

"There's also this fear of, 'I don't want to put my family's business out there,'" Dr. Awosan said. "'I don't want to put my business out there.'"

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Experts say more representation in the industry could be driving the demand for help.

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