Creating Community Solutions for Mental Health - Florence, SC

Topics: 

Format: 

Single, day-long event

Number of Participants: 

18

With what other organizations in your community did you partner when convening this conversation, if any?: 

SC Human Affairs Commission, Pee Dee mental Health, Citizens Center for Public Life

What were the most important things you learned during the process of organizing the dialogue?: 

Pee Dee Mental Health is well connected to many community and state non-profit orgainzatins.

What did you identify as the key issues affecting mental health in your community and especially the mental health of your community‚Äôs young people?: 

More support needs to be available on college campusses.  The Mental Health issue is still very taboo.  Much discussion centered around the issue of mental health treatment being a major problem in the African American community; participants felt this was a bigger problem in the African American community than in other racial groups. Forum participants felt that African Americans traditionally consider the issue taboo to talk about; no one acknowledges they have a problem and do not oe anyone to find out if they were to seek help - so they do not seek help.

 Also, the connection of mental health and physical health needs to be better understood.

What did you identify as the current strategies being used to address mental health challenges in your community? What are the challenges facing those strategies? : 

There is a good connection between the Pee Dee Mental Health Center and the schools.  More word needs to get out to everyone on the support systems available.  Also, participants shared a story about a law enforcement officer and a mental health pastient.  The officer responded to a domestic disturbance in which a mentally ill person  whom had gone off thier medications was involved.  The law enforcement officer took the mental health pastient to the hospital and dropped them off in front of the hospital, leaving the pastient alone to go into the hospital and explain why they were there.

Forum participants felt local law enforcement needed more training on how to identify  symptoms of mental illness and potentially support the mentally ill person more appropriately than demostrated in the story above.

What actions did you identify that your community can pursue to improve mental health, especially among young people?: 

More communication with the community in general, with colleges, and schools, ect.  Help arrance training for law enforcement and other community agency people.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your conversation?: 

As a partner with Pee Dee Mental Health Florence citizens increased thier perception that the Laboratory for Deliberative Democracy (Citizens Center for Public Life) can be a connector to resources and services.  LDD staff have received several telephone calls from Florence residents who saw the LDD as a support possibility for them.  They explained it was because of our partnership with the Pee Dee Mental Health Center and our work with the CCS for Mental Health forum that they became aware of the deliberative dialogue venue.