By ZOË WATKINS
At the December meeting of the Homelessness Task Force, the group discussed several resources for mental health, including a presentation given by Hershel Thrasher, president of LifeSource Family Solutions.
Part of the goal of the task force, as stated at multiple meetings, is to draw resources together, like the Shelbyville Community Soup Kitchen, Family and Children’s Services, as well as LifeSource to name a few.
Thrasher emphasized they also take in homeless citizens. “That’s the reason why we wanted to set ourselves up as a nonprofit so that we would have an opportunity to take in people that couldn’t afford to get mental health…So we’re here to work with you guys,” said Thrasher.
Quoting a statistic from the State of Tennessee, Thrasher explained Bedford County addresses approximately 28% of the mental health needs during the year.
“That means 72% of the people are not getting any help at all,” said Thrasher.
The need for mental health resources is growing with each generation. According to a 2020 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Insurance statistic, 75.3% of Gen Z (b. 1997 to 2002) says they experience consistent depression compared to 45.1% of Millennials (1981 to 1996), 44.7% of Gen X (1965 to 1980), and 24% of Baby Boomers (b. 1946 to 1964).
One in three high school students and half of female students report persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, an overall increase of 40% since before 2020, according to information from LifeSource.
The key, according to the task force, is early intervention, targeting especially vulnerable students.
LifeSource offers client services and various programs, including individual counseling for adults, teens and children, couples and family counseling, spiritual counseling, educational seminars, supervised visitation, parenting classes, and mediation services.
The task force also talked about how they would like to see more law-enforcement-related programs implemented in the school system.
Bedford County Schools will be enacting a Law Enforcement Against Drugs (L.E.A.D.) program beginning in January.
“I think it’s a good thing, especially in our schools where there’s a poverty level, or maybe the only interaction they have with a police officer is not a very pleasant interaction,” said Pastor Jimmy West, who sits on the task force and led the last meeting.
See the next edition of the Post for a full story on Bedford County School’s L.E.A. D. program, designed to inform school-age children of the dangers of drug use.
LifeSource is located at 310 Colloredo Blvd in Building B, across from Carriage House. Call 931-488-4480 or visit LifeSourceSolutions.net for more information. For information on cold weather shelters, anyone can visit the Shelbyville Soup Kitchen at 336 S. Cannon Blvd. for more information.