FLORENCE, S.C. — About 100 people gathered by Pee Dee Mental Health on Friday morning for speeches and then marched to show their support for mental health.
During the event a tree was planted in memory of those who have died in the last year, who were also named by participants. Pee Dee Mental Health frontline workers who died of COVID-19 during the pandemic were also named and remembered by organizers.
Representing the Knights of Columbus, Franc Barcomb leads the Mental Health Awareness March into the parking lot by Pee Dee Mental Health in Florence. Garrett Patterson with Pee Dee Mental Health directs traffic as he prepares to plant a tree in memory of those patients and staff who died in the past year.
Patterson said it was good to name and remember those who were lost. “The patients responded well to that and they’re missing their friends. We have folks who come into groups here five days a week, they’re family now so when they lose one it’s like losing a family member,” he said. “We lost four or five of our frontline people and it was tough,” Patterson said. “It was tough but we were diligent and got through it.”
The past year was challenging for patients and providers alike, Patterson said. Patients weren’t allowed into the building for the most part while nurses worked to make sure their injection patients received the services they needed. “Preaching the gospel of mental health and trying to make sure folks are aware of the importance of good mental health and seeking services when they need it,” said Garrett Patterson with Pee Dee Mental Health.
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