mental health

Owensboro Public Schools

Kentucky students continue to readjust to in-person classes after the virtual learning and changing schedules of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Owensboro Public Schools are addressing mental health issues that may arise after a stressful year that has impacted families across the Bluegrass State.

There are a total of 23 counselors and social workers on staff at Owensboro Public Schools.

The district also has a partnership with Mountain Comprehensive Care, a community mental health agency, that provides six mental health professionals to the district. Those therapists can offer additional services to children and families, that would be beyond what school counselors provide. 


J. Tyler Franklin

School counselors in Kentucky say students are struggling with an increase in depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts during the coronavirus pandemic.

During a legislative hearing on Tuesday, counselors told lawmakers that it’s not unusual for young people to struggle with mental illness, but the frequency and intensity of symptoms increased over the last year and a half.

Marsha Duncan, a counselor at Larue County High School, said students and staff struggled with the dangers of the pandemic.

“I’ve never seen so many students fearful to be in the school setting and it makes my heart hurt to see fear on students’ faces,” Duncan said.

Rhonda J. Miller

About 700 Kentuckians a year take their own lives.

Now, a group in western Kentucky called Infinite Hope has been formed to support those left behind. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with two people from Henderson who lost beloved young men to suicide, as Infinite Hope prepares for a remembrance ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. in Central Park in Henderson

One of those taking part in the event is Frank Poole, who lived near his grandson Talon Hogan for the entire 20 years of the young man’s life. He took care of Talon and his brother when their mother was busy remodeling their church and Poole was unemployed during the Great Recession.


Kevin Willis | WKYU

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman says adults have talked a lot about how the pandemic has impacted the mental health of K-12 students.

What’s too often missing, she adds, is the voices of the students themselves.

As part of an effort to reverse that trend, Coleman was in Bowling Green Wednesday for the first in a series of in-person and virtual meetings with students across the state designed to give young people the opportunity to express how they’re struggling under the weight of the uncertainty, anxiety, and stress related to COVID-19.

“We’ve heard a lot of talk over the last couple of years about mental health and how it’s affecting students. But we haven’t heard from students. It’s been an adult’s interpretation, or assumption, of how students feel, and why they feel that way, and how to help them,” Coleman told WKU Public Radio.


Rhonda J. Miller

The time we're living in now might be thought of as “pandemic recovery.”

After 15 months of shutdowns, stress and isolation, Kentucky is open for business and there's a welcome return to social activities. 

Schools will be fully in-person for the new academic year in the fall.

But the anxiety many children experienced during the pandemic is not likely to be washed away in the water parks and swimming pools of summer. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Tanner Steelman, a licensed clinical social worker who is mental health supervisor for Bowling Green City Schools


U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The COVID-19 pandemic has sickened more than 450,000 Kentuckians and claimed the lives of more than 7,000 people in the Bluegrass State.

Along with the devastating physical illness came an unprecedented storm of stress, confusion and grief. 

Many Kentuckians suffered, and continue to experience, mental health issues in the lingering shadow of the pandemic.

One place many people turn to for support is LifeSkills. It’s the public, nonprofit community mental health center based in Bowling Green that serves the 10-county Barren River region in southern Kentucky.


Dan Meyers/Unsplash

A new support group in Henderson is aimed at helping people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The group’s founder, Cindy Weaver, said it’s called Infinite Hope because people who take their own lives have lost hope. 

Weaver said she’s met many survivors who haven’t sought help for the trauma and grief that followed the death of their friend or family member. 

“We want to be able, through our support groups and walking alongside the survivors to know they don’t have to go through this alone, help to restore hope back into their lives again, so they can move into a life that feels purposeful and has meaning in it once again,” said Weaver.


Henderson Community College

Henderson Community College is increasing support for students facing personal challenges that might have been intensified by the emotional and physical stress of the year-long COVID-19 pandemic.

The college has opened a new one-stop center offering support for issues that could prevent academic success. 

The HCC Care Center may be small in size, but it offers students connections to a big range of community services.

Career Services Coordinator Angie Watson said the HCC Care Center can help with a wide range of  issues.

“Substance disorders, domestic violence, housing issues, mental and physical issues that they may be facing," said Watson. "We’ve got some great mental health facilities that can assist them and offer crisis counseling.”


UnitedWay.org

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress in many parts of life for families in Kentucky and around the nation.

During pandemic, the 211 hotline in the Daviess County region has received thousands of calls from people looking for assistance on a wide range of concerns.

The 211 contact line connects area residents to community resources on issues including housing, utility bills, food, health care, and mental health services. 

In the past year, the 211 line has received more than 16,000 calls. More than 5,000 of those calls were received in the last 90 days. 

Owensboro Community Development Director Abby Shelton said the majority of calls were related to housing and shelter, with most of those related to rental assistance. She said the pandemic has created a national struggle that’s definitely hit hard in Kentucky.


Henderson County Schools

The isolation and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is stressful for adults, but it can be even more upsetting for young people.

The Henderson County school system is offering counseling for students, and workshops for adults to help them get through the pandemic.  

In addition to school guidance counselors, Henderson County Schools have seven mental health counselors. Four of the seven are funded by a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSA.  

The funding is for Project AWARE, which is to increase knowledge about mental health-related issues in the community.  


Creative Commons

A mental health counselor at Western Kentucky University is urging families to improvise this holiday season in place of their traditional gatherings. 

From cooking and shopping, to gift-giving and holiday parties, COVID-19 is replacing the typical stress of the season with loneliness and anxiety. 

Lacretia Dye is a licensed counselor and professor at Western Kentucky University.  In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Dye said it’s important to have the right perspective to avoid feeling depressed or isolated.

“How can we reframe it and say this is a challenge?" she asked. "I’m not able to do it how I usually do it, but what’s another way he could creatively do it? Perhaps we could do it over the phone or talk about what we plan to do next year.”

Courtesy of State Representative Lisa Willner Facebook Page

Many individuals who need mental health in the Ohio Valley are not receiving it. 

Kentucky State Rep. Lisa Willner, a Louisville Democrat and licensed psychologist, listed many potential solutions in a conversation with WKU Public Radio.

Among them were "Tim's Law," which requires some people hositalized with a mental health incident to receive treatment.

Willner also explained why there's a disparity in care for physical and mental health. 


WKYU

There’s a saying credited to TV therapist Dr. Phil that borders on cliché.

It goes: “Life’s a marathon, not a sprint”, meaning obstacles are inevitable, it’s going to exhaust the hell out of you, and you’ve got to keep fighting anyway.

It applies to mental health too, making support networks crucial.


Flickr/Creative Commons/401(K) 2012

The Brentwood Springs treatment center in southern Indiana does its best to remove the stigma from mental health. The space looks modern, the cafeteria smells like tasty food, and you may hear the sounds of a guitar coming from creative therapy down the hall.


Courtesy of Steve Meyers

A retired U.S. Army veteran working to raise awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is bringing his message to Fort Knox on Friday.

Sergeant First Class Stephen Meyers is walking across the country as part of a campaign to alert the public to mental health issues facing veterans and many others.

His speech with Fort Knox coincides as the U.S. Army Human Resources Command is stepping up efforts to promote physical and mental well-being through it's "Risk Reduction Program." That effort is an ongoing year-long campaign taking a prevention-focused approach to issues like PTSD and subsquent dangers, like suicide.

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