By Ammie Ruddle
With resources limited to schools and school sanctioned activities, residents turn to self-care to address mental health issues.
According to Jamie Hudson, chief executive officer of Pendleton Community Care, PCC offers integrated behavioral health services; however, there are more specialized behavioral health services that need to be referred out and those services are difficult because specialized behavioral health services including long term therapy can have long wait lists for patients to get access.
Janice Lantz, the executive director for Pendleton Senior and Family Services Inc. said, “Many residents are referred to one place, such as DHHR (Department of Health and Human Resources) only to be told they can’t help. Then they are referred to someone else who refers them to another place, and by this point many residents give up.”
Longtime resident, Jennifer Taylor-Ide, a behavioral health specialist with decades of experience in the county, discussed the various mental health issues not being addressed. These issues include multi-generational trauma, the physical and emotional safety for the healthy development of children, social media’s influence on children and families, diet and nutrition and even lack of sleep.
Taylor-Ide discussed recommendations to address these issues using resources already within the county. “First and foremost, I think that we need to pivot our thinking from an over-focus on individual service, which is staff intensive, to a more universal mindset,” she added. “This would involve significantly increasing a wide variety of training for local professionals such as teachers and health care workers, parents, law enforcement and community members in general.”
Other recommendations included having programs available to address universal healthy development, broadening the engagement opportunities available to people of ages so they can find ways to contribute, grow, and participate with others. “This is especially important for young people,” Taylor- Ide said.
Taylor-Ide added, “We need to find some way to staff competent, individual counseling services over time, to meet the needs of those who are willing to tackle their challenges directly for as long as it may take. We have school counseling and limited-session counseling, but do not have adequate places to refer people who are identified as needing additional care.”
The largest obstacle the county faces, according to Taylor-Ide, is the encouragement for a community where people feel safe to speak up, seek assistance and learn.
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