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A Need for Mental Health Resources in Southwest Georgia


February 16, 2022

Brannan De Voto Noonan (DO ‘24)Throughout his time at PCOM South Georgia in Moultrie, Brannan De Voto Noonan (DO ‘24), has advocated for mental health awareness and resources. After working in the emergency room for three years, he saw the need for greater mental health treatment and more resources in the healthcare setting. With that experience and passion, he has partnered with Moultrie organizations and serves on the Mental Health Task Force, creating mental health awareness and resources in the Moultrie community.

“The stigma surrounding mental illness, substance abuse and mental health issues as well as the quality of care being given to these patients is far less than they deserve,” he said. “I am passionate about this because I have seen first-hand how impactful, and if it is not correctly cared for, how harmful substance abuse and mental illness can be to friends and families.”

The task force shares a multi-level and integrated strategy for improving local infrastructure to address issues related to mental health in rural, Southwest Georgia communities. It is composed of community partners including Michelle Cope, Founder and CEO of the Yellow Elephant; Lynn Wilson, President of NAMI Moultrie; Sarah Adams, UGA Archway Professional; Police Chief Sean Ladson of The Moultrie Police Department; Marci Meadows, City of Moultrie Director of Human Resources as well as others.

Moultrie-Colquitt County Chamber of Commerce award presentation“It's an honor to be a part of this valuable partnership,” Sarah Adams, Colquitt County Archway Professional, said. “Being able to help connect resources to enhance quality of life in our community has been one of the most fulfilling opportunities I've had in my career. I'm thankful and excited to see our new medical school so involved and invested in the community. The Mental Health Initiative hopes to be a model for other rural communities across the nation.“

Together, the organizations are working to establish a co-responder model involving law enforcement and clinicians. The goal is for these professionals to work together when they receive a call from someone who is experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

“This project was created to better serve the mental health community in Moultrie by intervening earlier in the treatment process and being able to provide more appropriate care of these patients when law enforcement is called,” said De Voto Noonan.

The task force will also provide recommendations for how others might begin addressing mental health issues in their communities at the upcoming Gulf-South Summit. According to its website, the annual summit promotes networking among practitioners, research, ethical practices, reciprocal campus-community partnerships, sustainable programs and a culture of engagement and public awareness through service-learning and other forms of civic engagement. The task force will be part of a panel that will discuss mental health issues, engaging students for service-based learning initiatives, co-responder models and forming collaborative partnerships.

De Voto Noonan will be representing PCOM South Georgia at the summit and will speak on behalf of the Mental Health Task Force.

“As a PCOM medical student as well as a member of the Southwest Georgia community, I will speak on my contribution to the task force,” he said. “I will be providing data to support an effective co-responder model to help strengthen mental health infrastructure in Moultrie. The data I will provide to support the need of a co-responder model by highlighting the prevalence of behavioral health crises in Moultrie, mental health patient prevalence and resource availability, or the current lack thereof.”

De Voto Noonan (DO ‘24) and PCOM South Georgia community membersIn addition to his work with community organizations, he also provides learning opportunities and resources to his fellow medical school students at PCOM South Georgia. These opportunities come through guest speakers, peer support meetings and workshops. Some examples include working with student organizations to host a speaker on addiction, setting up a drive for the Serenity House, providing training for students to recognize child sex abuse and trafficking and offering mental health first aid training.

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  • About PCOM South Georgia

    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.

    For more information, contact:
    Jordan Roberts
    Public Relations and Social Media Specialist
    Email: jordanro1@pcom.edu
    Office: 229-668-3198 | Cell: 229-873-2003

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