Mental health is just as important as physical health

As many of you may have seen on social media or in the newspaper, the city is partnering with Hargray to build a garden of reflection at the Bluffton Police Department.

This is such a special county, and especially the city, in that we always support our men and women who serve our city and surrounding areas. Whether it’s EMS, fire, or police, these first responders are very important to all of us, and any time we can help them in ways other than thanks and gratitude, this community jumps on it.

To help with this project, Hargray has granted the town of Bluffton $35,000 through its community engagement initiatives. This garden, in memory of Officer Jonathan Garcia, who committed suicide, will symbolize the department’s commitment to the mental health and well-being of its officers and civilian colleagues.

Jonathan has always been there to support our department and the many residents of this town, and I have been able to spend a lot of time with him during the many hurricane evacuations we have faced over the years. This was an important project that we undertook for many reasons, but especially to honor him for the years he dedicated to keeping our city and its residents safe.

The mental health of our law enforcement officers is a major issue, and I heard this week that more people die by suicide than homicide in our country, and that’s a sad statistic.

We hope this garden will provide service personnel with a place to share a meal, connect and discuss personal and professional issues. It’s a place to normalize and prioritize mental health to be just as important as physical health. We owe it to our first responders to provide a venue for these discussions to take place.

Hargray representatives say the award was significant because of the project’s commitment to the spiritual, physical, financial and emotional well-being of the community. Their mission is to engage with the Bluffton community and they surely show it through partnership.

If you have concerns about a loved one with a mental health condition, you can find more information on our local NAMI website, https://namilowcountry.org/.

If you have any questions about our wonderful town, please don’t hesitate to contact Town Hall at 706-4500 or email Lisa Sulka at [email protected]

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