UA intern explores mental health attitudes in county


Editor's note: The following is the third in a four-part series that will feature University of Alabama students who are interning in Jasper this summer.

One University of Alabama student has completed some eye-opening research on the attitudes toward mental health in Walker County.

Rising senior Logan Fenhouse, a New College student at UA, is nearing the end of an internship with Capstone Rural Health Center in Parrish. She has been tasked this summer to find methods to make the center's telepsychiatry program more sustainable.

The service allows patients to come to Capstone in Parrish and see a psychiatrist out of Birmingham through video conferencing.

Fenhouse was also assigned a solutions journalism piece to complete as part of the internship program.     

"I did mine on mental health attitudes in Walker County, so I got to interview a lot of different people in the community about how they felt mental health was being handled, the different attitudes and stigma around it, and the knowledge of the resources available," she said. "For the most part, Walker County is really open to and understands that mental health is a really big issue that we need to address, but there's a lot of disconnect between the knowledge of resources and access of resources — and those people actually getting the services they need."

Meeting the healthcare needs of patients is close to Fenhouse's heart, as she plans to be a doctor. She majors in interdisciplinary studies and Spanish, and she wants to use her Spanish speaking skills to care for Hispanic patients, potentially in an emergency room setting.

She has been studying Spanish since eighth-grade and already volunteers as a translator at a clinic in Tuscaloosa.

"I see a lot of people who are going through the worst time of their lives, and I think that the emergency room is filled with people who really need a person who understands what they're going through and is there for them in that moment," Fenhouse said.

Before she enters medical school, Fenhouse hopes to secure a Fulbright Scholarship to work in a Spanish speaking country as an English teaching assistant.

The Chicago native said she has enjoyed her time in Jasper (her first time in a small-town) and appreciates everyone's hospitality.  

"I've been amazed by what all Jasper and Parrish and Walker County as a whole has been able to accomplish," she said. "I've been so grateful for everybody who has welcomed me into this community and has made Jasper and Walker County feel like home."  

Fenhouse is one of four students interning in Jasper this summer through New College. The Walker Area Community Foundation has sponsored dozens of UA students to come to the city for nearly ten years.