Christ Episcopal Church and Park County Library hosted panel conversations on mental health challenges in the community on November 7. Identical midday and evening panels consisted of medical experts, a school district representative and mental health support group leaders.
Consistency and continuity of care for those with mental health and substance abuse issues came across as a main challenge. Peg Montieth, the Park Six School District Student Support Services Director, said continuity is especially a problem once students leave the system.
"But really doing a better job of transition from one agency to another, developing better wraparound services to continue that care long term," she emphasized.
Montieth said schools need to offer more pre-emptive care, including encouraging children to reduce screen time. The panel also said a huge challenge for continuing mental health care is funding cuts.
Sara Murray, the Park County board chair of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said she was encouraged by the large turnout.
"There is a lot more education and openness about mental health now than there used to be. So I just hope people become educated and realize that it is a serious problem in our communities and realize that it touches everybody."
The Christ Episcopal Church, Park County Library and Healthy Park County are planning a five week series on specific topics related to mental health in the spring.
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