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Our State of Mental Health

Reflection on a Better Business Bureau Forum on Mental Health

On Thursday, June 6th our local Better Business Bureau held a forum on Mental Health. It was very different than I anticipated. I assumed it would be businesses concerned about their employees (a really good thing). Instead, it was a group of 35 non-profit leaders, activists, and people working in the trenches of mental health, including several folks involved with law enforcement.

Why law enforcement? It turns out that the mental health services are so scarce here that law enforcement, without training or resources, is the primary provider of mental health services.

The meeting started with participants sharing their thoughts on the root cause of mental health problems in our community. Anxiety, loneliness, social media, Fentanyl, poor funding, and lack of timely access to services were all listed.

Shockingly, I learned that one for-profit local hospital refuses to treat mental health patients who arrive in the ER in crisis. Even worse, if the person in crisis refuses to leave, they have them arrested for trespassing. This is beyond brutal in my mind.

Another story shared by an attendee, a successful therapist, struck me. Their son was a high school athlete. He was given fentanyl for an injury and addiction followed. His family paid $360,000 out of pocket to no avail. Of course, most families do not have these resources. Even with all that was done to support him, he committed suicide. His parent now works in the jail providing mental health services to those in need.

What does this have to do with the Foundation for Family and Community Healing?

It is incredibly obvious to me that prevention is preferable to being at the mercy of a very broken system. Mental health services are not only for the “ill”. Resilience and wellbeing are vital for all of us. When we are feeling resilient and well, we can plant the seeds of hope.

I am not a mental health professional. However, I have spent nearly a lifetime around people facing their own internal challenges with mental health.

Several of the Foundation for Family and Community Healing’s courses will prepare you in this important way. The course of the month, 6 Steps to My Self-Esteem, as well as Navigating Anxiety may be great places to start.

Digging deep into our courses can help you avoid a broken system and maximize your life. Today is not too soon to get started. In fact, it may be just in time.

Ajax Greene is the Chief Operations Officer at the Foundation for Family and Community Healing and founder of Coherence Collaborative.