Hackett Forms Mental Health Committee

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City of Hackett officials are joining forces with school administrators and community leaders to form a committee aimed at addressing mental health issues within the community.

Chief Spells stated “We’re going on the offensive when it comes to mental health.  We’re going to pull in resources from every direction to get these kids the help they need”.  

The committee is composed of Chief Spells, educators, counselors, pastors, mental health professionals, student representatives, and juvenile services. The first committee meeting was held on Tuesday, March 5 and members laid the groundwork for providing resources.  

According to Spells, each member has access to valuable resources that could be utilized.  “You’ve got a member on the committee who has lost a child to suicide as well as myself.  I was recently named to the Harbor House board who is a tremendous asset when it comes to getting training down here and I’m going to take advantage of it.”  Spells added that school counselor Sharon Welch and former counselor and current faculty member Vickie Webb have also done a great job in using their connections to initiate the program, The Safe Talk.

Community members are encouraged to come be a part of the program, The Safe Talk. This program will be held Monday, March 11 at Hackett Fire Center from 1-4 p.m.  There will also be a program presented to high school students earlier in the day. “We had several ideas that were passed around that are going to be positives not only within the school but also outside of school,” added Spells.

Pastor Silva and his team at First Baptist Church have started a mentoring program for young men that is seeing some positive results.  “We’ve got to let these kids know that we do have resources and more are coming,” added Spells.

The committee also discussed the possibility of a location for kids to go after school that could provide a safe place to hang out.  However, due to the size of the community, the locations are limited. A representative of the committee is looking at grant opportunities for funding on a building that would accommodate those kids.  They are also looking at bringing in an author and motivational speaker who is nationally recognized for her suicide prevention campaign to speak later in the month. Spells added, “I have a tentative date set but we’re waiting to finalize that and see in what capacity she’ll be speaking.  There is also suicide prevention material located at the school and here at city hall available.”

This is an opportunity for parents, guardians and all community members to come part come be part a solution.

“What I see is a group of community members and educators who care deeply about these kids.  Principal Freeman gave one of the most powerful speeches I have ever heard the other day to the students.  It was powerful because it focused on loving one another.  That’s how we’re going to address this is through getting the resources here and loving one another,” concluded Spells.

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Mansfield native, with roots in Scott County. Daughter, sister, wife and Christian. Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; 20+ years experience in the news.

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