By Ammie Ruddle
Many of the individuals tasked with addressing mental health issues agree that partnerships and resources are needed. It is the responsibility of everyone in the county to work together to ensure mental health for all ages.
Mike Landis, executive director for the Potomac Highland Guild, said that partnerships and identifying needs are essential to make changes. He added, “Each partner has a role within the county and with a coordinated effort you can reach more people in need.”
Landis also praised the county in its efforts to combat mental health issues. “We think the county citizens work well with each other and seem to always reach out when someone needs assistance,” he said.
Jamie Hudson, chief executive officer for Pendleton Community Care, discussed some of the ways health officials will be working to address these issues, “There are a few initiatives already in place,” she added, “making the community aware of these initiatives is a first step to allowing community members to access these services.”
Hudson added everyone within the community should “continue to encourage.”
Jennifer Taylor-Ide encouraged adults in homes that are “well-resourced” and “have comfort and transportation” to include children from low-resource households in their activities.
Taylor-Ide said, “They can take them to ball games, invite them over for a gathering.” She suggested that sharing resources could make a huge difference to a child in poverty.
Although, the schools in the county have various resources available to students, J.D. Wilkins, president of the Pendleton County Board of Education, said there is more that can be done to assist students and address mental health issues.
Wilkins said, “It is very important to understand that the source of our student’s mental health issues is normally found outside of the school system.” He added, “A response to mental health issues that is focused within the school system will be treating symptoms and cannot be expected to resolve the issues. However, a well-rounded response to our children’s mental health should have a robust response within the school system.”
All individuals agreed that there is more within the county that needs to be done to combat mental health issues.
In addition, all agreed to partner with any resource that already exists or may become a resource, in order to address and combat mental health for the residents within the county.