Group works to increase mental health resources in Nolan County

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SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – It’s not always fun and games for this family of four, especially for 13-year-old Cash.

“He’s visually impaired, and with that comes a lot of emotions,” said his mother Annie Miles.

Luckily for this young teenager, he’s been taught to express those emotions, something his mother didn’t always have the luxury of doing.

“When I was younger, you didn’t talk about mental health,” said Miles.

Mental health may have been taboo, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t something Miles witnessed in her family members.

“I think growing up I knew something was different, and that’s not really how it’s supposed to be, but I just kind of went with it,” said Miles. “I’m trying to break that cycle.”

It all starts with just five at this table, who are opening the conversation not just with their kids, but everyone in Nolan County.

“We introduced ourselves as the Nolan County Renewal Project,” said member Jared Houze.

The group is looking to answer a question that’s been left blank for years.

“What would it look like to increase mental health resources in Nolan County? How could we do that? Who else would be interested in this conversation?” said Houze.

With all those questions, the group started to look for answers at Sweetwater High School, hoping to create a counseling group.

“The younger they are, you can start laying the groundwork and foundations before they start making those crucial mistakes in their life where they encounter something that allows them to go down a path which causes a lot depression or anxiety, or how they experience trauma. If you get those things early on then you can set them up to succeed,” said Houze.

That’s just one way this group is changing the conversation, the other is a program called Mind Fit.

“How do we combine physical health with mental health and how the two interact with one another?” said Houze.

“We want them to know that it’s OK, and you can get help, and we’re going to get you help,” said Miles.

The group says they hope to have both initiatives up and running by March.

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