Speaker: The community has a role in care | Local


The state director of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health offered the community a lesson in how to care for each other, especially those dealing with mental health issues.

Dr. Kenneth Rogers was the keynote speaker at Family Health Centers Inc.’s inaugural mental health symposium on Thursday.

“Mental illness does not just appear out of the blue. Often this is actually triggered by events that have happened in people’s lives. I believe that God actually placed us on this earth to care for each other,” Rogers said.

“Since the beginning of time it was his plan, that we would all be here to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper. So my question for you is, how are we going to do this in our lives and in the lives of the people around us? ” he said.

He said freedom from illness is not exactly well-being and that the community needs to spend more time providing comprehensive services to support people struggling with mental health issues.

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“We have to get to a place as a community where we take care of each other. This community could be a church, it could be a neighborhood, it could be an organization. It could be any place that starts thinking about taking care of each other,” Rogers said.

“I started thinking about this whole idea: how do we transform the lives of individuals and families? How do you restore hope when things look bleak? How to turn madness into common sense? How can we become an advocate for those with mental health issues? ” he said.

Rogers continued, “That’s where we get this whole idea of ​​health care and health care. When we first think of health care, we think of someone in need of treatment. In other words, you have some disease, you walk into a building, we provide you with something, and you get better than health care that actually takes care of your health in a much bigger way.

“How many of us actually do things to take care of ourselves? Sun, … some exercise, enough water, friendships, engagements, finding things that really give life meaning. This is all part of this second health care.

He said drugs can’t treat everything and that religion and mental health aren’t always complementary, but “can also be problematic because sometimes it’s hard to work out where things are on one side.”

“Usually when we think of characters in the Bible, we don’t usually think of those who are depressed, those who are psychotic, those who have gotten themselves into all sorts of trouble because of post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma and all kinds of things that exist,” Rogers said.

He continued, “I realize that you always have to question what you know is right in front of you because sometimes it doesn’t always make sense. … Not everyone with mental health issues is poor, they’re not broke, and they’re not alone. Some actually live in large families.

Held under the theme “Breaking the Stigma”, last week’s event aimed to promote mental health awareness and shine a light on the stigma that discourages mental health treatment.

“Despite advances in psychiatry, mental health treatment continues to be stigmatized today. Community engagement and open dialogue about the importance of emotional well-being is key to dispelling the stigma towards mental and mental health treatment,” said Dr. Stacey Graham, Director of Behavioral Health at FHC.

“Stigma weakens and compromises access to treatment, diagnosis and good health outcomes. Community care systems consist of social service agencies, health care facilities, educational entities, law enforcement agencies, and faith-based organizations that can be the gateway to connect individuals to mental health services,” Graham said.

Hope Burch and Terri Neals provided personal testimonials on the importance of taking care of your mental health. Burch lost his son, Brandon, 21, to suicide in 2021, while Neals lost his son, Terrence, 26, six years ago in a car crash.

“The loss of a child is simply terrible, difficult to bear. I’ve come a long way,” Neals said.

Burch said, “My son lives within me even in his absence. …Let’s take the stigma out of mental health because it’s so necessary.

She stressed to members of the public that they should never give up on family members who may have mental health issues.


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“Find out what they need,” she said.

Rev. Jerome Anderson, pastor of Unity Fellowship Community Church in Orangeburg, said Rogers’ message of compassion resonated with him.

“I thought he said a lot of things. He basically talked about what we’re trying to do with community action planners. It’s transforming a community to tap into mental health, to also give a different definition of mental health that includes people with anxiety, like depression, so you can take the stigma out of mental health,” Anderson said.

“The main thing for me was to take care of them, to have a caring community and a community that, first of all, can identify people with problems and also be there, especially as a faith community, for them. So I think things went well,” he said.

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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