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My Plan for Mental Health 

  1. Make it a top priority at every funding opportunity and conversation.

  2. Work through budgeting.

  3. Adapt staff to pursue grant opportunities.

  4. Collaborate with State and Federal Agencies.

  5. Develop a County-Wide Program to bring awareness to mental health Issues.

  6. Train people in "Mental Health First Aid", a growing concept with great results.

  7. Remove the stigma associated with mental health.

  8. Work with kids and schools to help understand the signs and factors that contribute to violent behavior.

  9. Develop access to community-based law enforcement measures.

Too many communities in recent years have suffered the effects of mental health crisis that leads to violence. The new normal is not acceptable to me. In a recent discussion, my 15-year-old daughter described how she was told to “pile desks up to reach a window, then run across the roof and jump off” in an effort to escape a school shooting scenario. We need to enhance our support of mental health professionals and law enforcement to deal with folks in need before they become a threat to our community.

Having talked with our Chief of Police, Rob Leftwich, and other law enforcement professionals this can be a difficult task, even with known problem individuals suffering from mental health issues. Professionals who offer support services, such as counseling and guidance, have additional challenges. Some of those challenges we can control. Access to funding for county level programs, support of hospitals that often bear the cost of treatment, and priorities for law enforcement and courts to develop plans for management of mental health crisis scenarios are some of the answers.

This issue is felt nationwide. Without acting locally, we have no hope of change.

We recently lost another young man to suicide. A bright and well adjusted 20 year old college student, a loving son and a close friend of my family. Obviously when it affects your life, at this level, it becomes the number one priority. I want to make this a priority before anyone suffers the consequences of mental and behavioral health crisis.

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