Horry County looks to add more mental health counselors for first responders, county employees

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 11:25 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County’s Public Safety Committee held a meeting Tuesday, with County Administrator Randy Webster providing an update to the mental health program for employees.

“We are working with the State Mental Health Office and a few other folks like that to help bring in more mental health counseling for our first responders,” said Webster.

In addition, the county has received assistance from various mental health groups and has formed ‘First Responders for First Responders’ which are trained professionals who respond to a colleague in crisis.

“We’ve used that quite frequently, most recently the larger event we had in the Surfside area with the large standoff that took place there,” said Webster.

District 6 councilman Cam Crawford has advocated for extended mental health programs for first responders since his term began.

“Over the years, I’ve noticed our employees in Public Safety, particularly police and fire including 9-1-1 are oftentimes exposed to adverse conditions that can in many cases affect work performance,” said Crawford. “This can affect them at home as well.”

About seven years ago, the county introduced a health and wellness program to boost morale and help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Its purpose is to have a year-round wellness program, with classes on nutrition, fitness and changes to the workplace so that it better suits employees’ well-being reportedly has been successful.

There is a bigger picture for Crawford, who says he would like to see updated mental health programs for those incarcerated as well.

“Better programs would help them to work out and through some issues, they might have which could help them integrate back into society,” said Crawford.

County employees interested in any of the programs are encouraged to contact the Human Resources Department.