May: Mental Health Awareness Month

Public Health Director's Statement

      As a public health director, I must take into consideration all factors that impact our community’s public health. Grayson County is a wonderful area to live and work. However, like all communities, Grayson County faces a growing mental health crisis. Reasons why so many community members struggle with mental health issues vary. However, one truth appears consistent from person to person—across a broad spectrum. More collaboration is needed.

     Although GCHD has a strong working relationship with our community mental health partners, we can always make improvements. Therefore, our local health department is embracing public health transformation as outlined by the Kentucky Department for Public Health. Transformation calls for more collaboration—meaning that community partners must continue to work together to meet the health needs of local communities. Although Grayson County has done a fantastic job at working together, the rising cases of mental health issues remind us that there is more work to be done.


     I was reading a news article the other day that was discussing the mental health challenges that have been produced by living in a worldwide pandemic. In particular, the article highlighted the rising cases of mental health issues amongst young adolescents due to a decrease in socialization throughout the COVID crisis. This reminded me at the perfect time, Mental Health Awareness Month, that the work we must do to address this growing crisis is just beginning. As a community, we can work together to make immediate improvements—and long-term strategic improvements.

The health department is working together with our community partners in the examples listed below.

  • We are working to implement a bridge between the health department and mental health professionals—and to better refer patients that need such assistance.

  • We are working to implement mental health resources in our local community outreach programs.

  • We are working with community partners in identifying the healthcare needs of local community members through a community health needs assessment—and are working to implement strategies for improvement in areas such as mental health.

     Over the next few weeks, the local health department will be talking a lot about mental health. However, the conversation will not end after May. We will continue to highlight this need in our community. I’m thankful that we can communicate about such public health issues. I am also thankful for all the wonderful mental health professionals that serve tirelessly the residents of Grayson County as well as surrounding areas. These men and women are wonderful resources that we should be thankful for.


     In closing, there are always resources available. For local services related to mental health, dial 211 and ask the operator to connect you with local mental health professionals. You can also reach out directly to a local mental health organization by doing a simple web search of the area.