Members of a Lawrence task force agreed Wednesday many in the community are uncertain how to seek help for mental illness, particularly after 5 p.m.
The Community Health Improvement Project's Task Force on Mental Health spent much of Wednesday's meeting discussing what happens for those needing help after many agencies close for the day at 5 p.m.
"I think what we heard is that the number of agencies there to help with the problem goes down dramatically," said Mark Buhler, a former state senator and chairman of the group.
Many agencies have individuals on call, and the Lawrence Memorial Hospital emergency department will see patients with mental problems any time. But several group members said they were concerned people who needed care didn't know how to access the system.
The 16-member group was formed in early May to discuss how the community could improve mental health care. The group formed partly in response to a decision by LMH leaders to close the last vestiges of the hospital's inpatient mental health unit.
The task force plans to learn more about how the hospital treats mental health patients at its next meeting at 4 p.m. on June 29 at the Douglas County Health Department, 200 Maine.