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Big View meeting focuses on mental health help in Pratt

Jeanette Siemens
Pratt Tribune
Big View meeting recent particpants included (from left) PRMC psychologist  Dr. Mark Green, leader/facilitator Jeanette Siemens and Pratt County Sheriff Jimmy White. They, along with others, discussed mental health issues encountered in Pratt and the surrounding area.

* Editor's Note: Circles community leader Jeanette Siemens reports on Big View meeting last week that focused on mental health issues in Pratt.

Last month I wrote about the then upcoming Big View conversation that Circles hosts four times a year.

The topic of this Big View was Mental Health. Mental Health seems to have a stigma attached to it, however, as with our physical health; we need to tend to it as well. Also I am guessing the mental health issue has touched many of us, regardless of socio-economic status. It could be servicemen coming home, someone losing a loved one, struggling live from one day to the next because of financial and/or physical reasons, COVID 19.  I could go on and on about reasons for mental health problems.

Dr. Mark Green, psychologist at PRMC, moderated the discussion and reminded everyone that just as we would seek help when we sprain an ankle, have a sore throat, or other physical issues, and it shouldn’t be different with mental health. There should not be a stigma attached.

Representatives from the schools, law enforcement, Horizons Mental Health and The Hope Center were all present. Each briefly addressed their concern and/or services offered and questions from the audience were addressed. 

The main issues of concern included what to do when someone obviously needs mental health help. Most of us don’t understand mental health and particularly aren’t equipped to handle it. 

Pam Ford of The Hope Center said this was a big issue for her. She related an incident when someone with severe problems came in and she spend a good length of time with them, on speaker phone, with potential resources and was unable to come up with any assistance at all. She was frustrated and worried not being able to offer helpful assistance. 

The issue of suicide came up and Sheriff White noted the committing suicide is not a crime so making an arrest of someone that seems suicidal can’t be done unless connected with some other criminal issue. 

A member of the audience asked if mental issues could be generational. Dr. Green explained yes they could be and used the example of if our parents don’t teach us about hygiene, exercise or life things we won’t do them as well, if at all, so the same applies to mental health. 

It seems depression and anxiety is among the most common forms of mental health problems.

As with most issues there seem to be either limited resources nor helpful legislation in place. 

As we state with all Big View conversations, we knew it is not possible to solve these topics in one evening but hope the awareness and some education of the problem might prompt something to take place to make progress on the issue.

We had many technical issues that evening as well. While we were meeting in person and social distancing, we also attempted to Zoom the discussion to both the Circle Leader class and the general public that wished to join but could not be there in person. Because of so many problems that wasn’t able to take place but it didn’t make the discussion any less productive or interesting. 

Our hope is this conversation will continue among those involved and with services. 

Stay tuned.