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Mental Health Awareness Month recognized in Harrison

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM 1-2. David Phillips, CEO of WVU Medicine Harrison Community Hospital, introduces himself to Harrison County commissioners during Wednesday’s meeting.

CADIZ — The Harrison County Board of Commissioners recognized May as Mental Health Awareness Month on Wednesday.

At the request of the Mental Health and Recovery Board, which serves Belmont, Harrison and Monroe counties, Commissioners Don Bethel, Paul Coffland and Don Bethel signed a Mental Health Awareness Month proclamation. No representative of the recovery board was present at the meeting. Coffland read the proclamation, which states the importance of mental health to a person’s overall health and well-being.

“All Harrison County residents face challenges in life that can impact their mental health, especially during a pandemic; and whereas prevention is an effective way to reduce the burden of mental conditions,” he said.

Businesses, schools, government agencies, health care providers, organizations and residents share the burden of mental health problems and have a responsibility to promote wellness, support prevention and treatment efforts, Coffland continued.

“We call upon our citizens to increase their awareness and understanding of mental health and take steps to protect their own mental health and well-being,” he concluded.

Commissioners unanimously approved and signed the proclamation.

David Phillips, CEO of WVU Medicine Harrison Community Hospital and WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital, attended the meeting to introduce himself to commissioners. Phillips recently became CEO of the Harrison hospital after it joined the WVU Health System on April 1.

“(I) just wanted to take the opportunity to stop by and introduce myself. I’m the new administrator at the hospital,” he said. “I know there’s been a long-standing relationship between the commissioners, the county and the hospital, and I wanted to make sure I introduced myself to you and if there were ever any issues we needed to address you would know I will be available to address those.”

Phillips added that he appreciates the relationship between the community and the hospital. Bethel said he also values the relationship between the two entities.

“We’ve been dealing with the hospital for a number of years and we’ve had a good relationship with the hospital, and I’m sure that will continue,” Bethel said.

Bethel then inquired about the hospital’s former administrator, Tony Martinellie. Phillips said Martinellie is now the chief operating officer for Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, another partner of WVU Health Systems.

Phillips said he has been with Barnesville Hospital for the past 20 years, eight of which he has been the CEO. He is a Union Local graduate.

“We’ve been involved with WVU Medicine for the past 2.5 years. As Harrison came into the system, they wanted me to get involved with both Ohio hospitals, given the similar size and challenges, so that’s how I got involved and Tony went through a restructuring to Reynolds,” he said.

Phillips was then asked about the hospital potentially expanding its services.

“We’re evaluating our options right now. The one area we know we need to address is primary care and we need to recruit more primary care physicians in the community, so that’s the area that we’re starting with,” he said.

Phillips said they will also begin evaluating other services including cardiology and oncology.

“We haven’t made final plans on that, but were in the process of evaluating those right now,” he added.

Commissioners thanked Phillips for his time and for attending the meeting.

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