AUSTIN (KXAN) — A half-million dollar program aims to improve mental and physical health for Austin’s African American community.

The University of Texas School of Nursing is partnering with two east Austin baptist churches, the Mount Zion Baptist Church and Rehoboth Baptist Church.

Services will include on-site clinical services, mental health education programs and mental health training for pastors. The new initiative targets African Americans because studies show they’re less likely to seek help from mental health professionals.

“People are afraid to talk about it, people are afraid to share. It’s going to better equip clergy members to actually help and support the member of our congregation who are suffering, or who have members of their family who have mental health issues,” said Rev. Daryl Horton of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

The School of Nursing will use the program to make sure students get hands on training, beyond traditional diagnosing and treatment programs.

The program will include church-based education, as well as self-management for chronic diseases like uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes.