Greenfield Fire Department focuses on mental health in virtual outreach

Posted at 6:58 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 19:58:25-04

Lorrie Schenck and her family are trying to focus on the positive these days, getting out and enjoying a walk as a way to de-stress.

"Some days it’s a struggle, but overall pretty well getting out in nature,” said Schnek.

While some are doing OK, mentally, others are not, according to the Greenfield Fire Department, mental health calls have increased more than fifty percent in the past few months.

“We are seeing the mental heath emergencies being even more crisis based and needing further levels of care,” said Maggie Sutton, Case Manager for the Greenfield Fire Department.

The Fire and Health Department have partnered together to create a virtual outreach program, connecting the community through social media. The fire department frequently goes live on their Facebook page with cooking, workout and demonstration classes but once a week, Maggie and Abby talk about mental health.

“To let people know it’s OK to not be OK,” said Maggie.

In the videos they provide the public with information on ways to cope with stress and deal with mental health issues, like journaling, meditation, physical activity and reaching out to others.

“Connect with the ones we love and are important to us because ultimately that builds a good mental health base and foundation for our mental health,” said Maggie.

According to a Kaiser Family Federation poll, more than half Americans surveyed said this pandemic is taking a toll on their mental health. Maggie said it’s important to notice the signs of when you’re not feeling well.

“When we are in a rut or having those feelings of despair or sadness for a longer period than we typically would have, it’s OK to reach out and to let professionals know you need help,” said Maggie.

Maggie said she works with mental health agencies across the Milwaukee like Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee and National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The fire department goes live on their Facebook page to talk about mental health on Tuesdays at 1 pm.

If you have questions about COVID-19 or mental health contact the fire department by clicking here.

If you are in crisis contact the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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