ASHLEY WILLIAMS CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER
President Jim Stapleton called on Chairperson Michael Ray for this week’s program. Michael introduced Ashley Williams denoting her educational accomplishments and experience as a licensed clinical social worker and her position as the Zone Leader for Behavioral Services for the 34 counties and the Georgia Crisis & Access Line 800-715-4225 of Southeast Georgia.
The pandemic has had an additional impact on mental health services across the State and here in Southeast Georgia. The need has skyrocketed and exposed a lack of services. Even before the pandemic, resources were being pushed to their limits. Statistics from 2018 show the low side of the need for services as the population has 40.9% mental health issues, 30.9% depression and 26.3% trauma. Despite new options such as telehealth, the lack of inpatient beds pushes those in need back into the community. Persons with suicidal, homicidal, mental health and even detoxification issues are assessed for services with hope to reduce the pressure on emergency rooms and the jails. The public safety and physical health may override the mental health issues in order to search for help. Help is out there, but is more difficult to find during the crisis times.
Form 1013 Emergency Admission Certificate is a tool accessible by professionals to commit and transfer persons with mental illness and imminent risk to self or to other persons or someone unable to care for their physical health or public safety creating life-endangering crisis. It can be a time to pause the action and seek help wherever it may be found.
This is a time for taking care of yourself and others. First be aware of your own physical and mental health and do those things that positively impact you, for example, diet, exercise, reading and walking. Secondly, take care of others, especially teens and the elderly. Suicide risk is at an all-time high for these two groups along with substance abuse across all age groups. If necessary, seek help until you find it even in the time of crisis help can be found. It is out here!
KELLY THRIFT – TEACHER LAW ENFORCEMENT PATHWAY
President-Elect Carl James called on Chairperson Michael Ray for this week’s program. Michael introduced Kelly Thrift, Law Enforcement Pathway Teacher at Ware County High School to begin her part of a three part presentation on the Pathways program.
Kelly Thrift started in this pathway in January of the last school year combining her years of teaching experience with past employment as a Probation Officer. The Law Enforcement Pathway includes the broader career areas of Public Safety, Criminal Justice and Corrections. It involves not only textbook knowledge but first-hand experience from guest speakers and hands-own instruction in class with field trips to jails, courts and work sites. The Pathway courses are (1) Introduction to Law-an overview of the fields and careers, (2) Essentials of Law-details and focus on jobs (3) Forensics-a blood and guts detail look into law enforcement (girls seem to like this course more than boys). A recent class involved fingerprinting which is very hands on and messy. She admitted that Lt. Michael Ray and other officers have helped with classes. Ms. Thrift then turned the podium over to a 10th grade student to give her impression of the Law Enforcement Pathway.
Brandasja Smith was very excited and passionate about her experiences. Being in high school can be draining and overwhelming at times so it is a great opportunity to be in classes with caring teachers that are preparing you for your future. She chose the Law Enforcement pathway over Medical and Health because of her interest in becoming a lawyer and she has found many career opportunities that are about helping others. Her enthusiasm was shown by her use of the words “happy and amazing” for her classes and teachers. Even though like many students, she has thoughts of moving elsewhere but is finding she already lives in an amazing and loving community with plenty of career opportunities. The third of the three parts was an overview by Work Based Learning Coordinator, Kim Bennett Callahan of WCHS. The Law Enforcement Pathways is one of many pathways and she invited businesses and employers to offer internships and work placements to enhance the experience of CTAE students. Students are still covering their core academic classes then adding the three pathway courses to their schedule and can follow that with community placements and experience. It is a goal for students to find careers that are rewarding to themselves and contribute to this community.
The three presenters were accompanied and supported by Dr. Lynn Barber, CTAE Director and Assistant Superintendent of Ware County Schools.