Mental health transports in Stark County raise awareness

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According to a report released by the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, there were more than 13,000 calls for service in 2020, of which 373 required a transport.

Of the 373 transports, 85 were solely for mental health. “The court system, or state’s attorney’s office or local hospital here, the E.R., they’ll get somebody in who needs either substance abuse treatment, or mental health treatment,” Chief Deputy Ray Kaylor of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office said. “They’ll do what’s called an involuntary committal. They’ll fill out the paperwork, a doctor will then examine them. The doctor will then call a facility that can treat this person, get a bed lined up. And then we’ll get an order to transport them to that facility,” Kaylor said.

Experts are raising awareness for those battling mental health concerns and are providing reasons why awareness is crucial in today’s world.

“I’ve been in corrections and law enforcement for 30 years, and mental health has always been kind of no one really wanted to address it. And I think it’s time we need to address it,” Kaylor said.

Dr. Alan Fehr, a psychologist at Westwind Counseling Center said events over the course of the past year can lead to a decline in mental health. “I see a lot of people suffering from anxiety and depression. Anxiety because there’s a lot of unknowns, financial insecurities, not knowing what happens next,” Fehr said. “Depression because they really haven’t adjusted to what took place in their lives over the past year.”

However, with the heightened awareness, there is hope.

Dr. Fehr mentioned clinicians are using cognitive behavior therapy. He explained cognitive behavior therapy saying: “It really means working on changing how you think about things. Because how you think about things drives how we feel about things.”

Chief Deputy Kaylor said work is being done on finding the best way to transport individuals seeking help. “You know, these people are seeking help, they need help. Whether it is with mental health issues or substance abuse issues, and it would probably be a better fit for a non-law enforcement entity [to] transport them, and that’s kind of what we are looking for in the future,” Kaylor said.

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