PHOTO GALLERY — Mental health care a focal point of community resource fair in Port Arthur

Published 1:04 am Saturday, February 25, 2023

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When Trina Rose Frazier opened The Rose Center, she did it with a particular mission in mind.

“I wanted individuals who looked like me to know it’s OK to come to people who do what I do,” the licensed counselor said. “Sometimes people feel like they really can’t talk about it, and they have to warm up to it.”

Frazier works in all behavioral health fields with specialties in anxiety, depression and anger management. She also provides trauma counseling at her Beaumont-based facility.

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“I wanted people to know that, first of all, it’s OK to not be OK,” she said. “And I wanted people to have someone who looked like them so they’d feel more comfortable talking about things.”

The second annual For the Love Community Resource Fair hosted in the Ruby Fuller building of the Lamar State College Port Arthur campus Friday connected students and community members with a multitude of resources. Hearing tests, blood pressure checks and other services were offered. Mental health, however, was a strong focus.

“I go to the schools and provide training and presentations on mental health when it comes to the staff and the students, bullying prevention, anything tailored to the specific school,” said Shan Moore with the Spindletop Center. “It’s definitely something that’s been on the rise since COVID, so it’s definitely needed.”

And while COVID has not gone away, the pandemic was particularly hard on Black and Brown populations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, race and ethnicity can serve as risk markers for other underlying conditions that impact a person’s health. As of December, members of the Black community accounted for 1.1 times more cases, 2.1 times more hospitalizations and 1.6 times more deaths than White, non-Hispanic persons.

That is something members of the Port Arthur Health Department kept in mind Friday while offering updated COVID boosters, first time vaccines or any missed dose.

“We’re open to anybody, of course,” said Crystal Torres, LVN. “But that is one of our main focuses — to educate the community more about the vaccine and how it works.”

For Brooke Loupe with Samaritan Counseling Center, addressing mental health in the Black community can also start from the inside.

“We try to make sure our center is open and welcome to everyone, and we also try to make sure our staff is the same way,” she said. “People can come to our center and see people who look like them on our staff.”

While there were a variety of other health-related resources on hand, some visitors found the focus on mental health to be impactful, such as Woodrow Wilson Early College High School student Alejandro Medina, who was there with her teacher and classmates. Medina learned about a multitude of things, including anonymous counseling sessions.

“A lot of people our age go through anxiety, depression and we really need that,” she said. “I feel like it’s really hard for some people.”