By Molly Weisner and Ari Sen
On Wednesday, students, advocates and lawmakers came together in Pittsboro to discuss mental health at the One Chatham forum. The event followed the release of The ChatCast, a podcast series launched as a partnership between the Chatham News + Record and Our Chatham to bring mental health to the forefront of community conversation.
About 60 people attended the event to listen to the conversation. Since the podcast’s release, The ChatCast has been streamed and/or downloaded over 500 times.
This month’s forum brought together five expert panelists on various issues of mental health in adolescents:
Chatham Charter School sophomore Abigail Holmes,Wilder Horner, social work supervisor with the Chatham County Department of Social Services,George Greger-Holt, community outreach coordinator of Chatham Drug Free,Tracy Fowler, executive director of student support services with Chatham County Schools, andRep. Robert Reives II, North Carolina House of Representatives.
Photo by Charlotte Ririe/Our Chatham
Chatham News + Record’s Zachary Horner and Adrianne Cleven from Our Chatham moderated the event, which started with an evaluation of mental health resources in Chatham.
“For a long time we had a public mental health system that I thought worked pretty well …” Greger-Holt said. “Somewhere along the line we lost our way in terms of being able to provide support for people suffering from mental illness.”
The problem in creating a network of care for mental health is that Chatham is so large and spread out, Gregor-Holt said. He mentioned that services are more available in Pittsboro and North Chatham, but Bear Creek, Siler City and other rural areas are more difficult to reach.