Mental health help calls on the rise

Deanna Bonn
Butler County Times Gazette
Jena Pritchard, left, and Amy Collins, right, presented information on the mental health effects of COVID-19.

Pam Dunham, Chair, and Tanner Brown, led the meeting and lunch was hosted and provided by Butler County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Butler County Community Development, and Misfit Kitchen.

Amy Collins and Jena Prichard did not have happy news when the representatives of the South Central Mental Health recently gave a presentation to the Local Area Planning Committee on the mental health effects of COVID-19.

Collins informed the group of the differences they saw from the beginning of the pandemic through the current time. She discussed how they noticed a decline in calls, and office visits in the beginning. However, by the summer and fall of 2020, they started to see a steep increase in calls and office visits.

The availability of telehealth allowed for a transition from in-person visits to online visits. Pritchard said the summer of 2020, was the quietest summer she has ever had with children with mental health issues. However, by the fall of 2020, it has become the busiest she ever has been.

An increase in anxiety and other mental health issues with parents was identified, due to children being out of school. Collins discussed how, as supervisors, it was difficult in the beginning to make sure each employee was being taken care of in order to continue providing care to their clients. She also informed the group that long lasting effects of the pandemic may still remain unseen. This is likely due to the fact that children may have learned bad coping skills with mental health due to COVID-19.

Local Area Planning Committee (LEPC) gathered for their quarterly meeting April 15. The gathering is a working lunch that brings members from across Butler County and from various industries within the emergency response sector.

The Member Spotlight was presented by Holly Energy Partners, Colter Armstrong. He provided a detailed description of their tank farm along with how many tanks and gallons are stored there. Armstrong also shared potential hazards with oil coming in and out of the farm and an emergency number was provided to the group, if needed. The next LEPC meeting will be held July 15th at Butler County Emergency Management.

Colter Armstrong with Holly Energy Partners presenting during the Member Spotlight.
Pam Dunham, LEPC Chair, left, and Tanner Brown, right, leading the meeting which was held at the Butler County Emergency Medical Services building on North Haverhill Road in El Dorado.