DeKalb County District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry Tests Positive for COVID-19

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (Date)  -– On Friday, August 19, DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner tested positive for COVID-19 while out of state on a family vacation. According to Commissioner Terry, he began experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and promptly took an at-home rapid test, which came back positive for the respiratory illness. After a telemedicine visit with his Kaiser Permanente physician, the recommended treatment is over-the-counter medication, hydration, and a 5-day isolation. Because of his mild symptoms and age, Commissioner Terry is not eligible for anti-viral tablets. 

Commissioner Terry is fully vaccinated and boosted. He is currently experiencing a mild sore throat, congestion, and a low-grade fever and is isolating for the immediate future (5 days). He is expected to make a swift recovery and looks forward to continuing his work to better DeKalb as soon as possible. For immediate comments and concerns, please contact Commissioner Terry’s Chief of Staff Kelly Cato,

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Clarkston Mental Health Alliance Receives $100k Grant from DeKalb County’s Super District 6 for Pilot Project  to Address Mental Health Needs of Community

New Project Will Enable Early-Stage Mental Health Clinicians to Provide Culturally Competent & Trauma-Sensitive Care for Refugees, Immigrants & Migrant (RIM) Communities.

CLARKSTON, GA – The Clarkston Mental Health Alliance, which is comprised of the CDC–funded Prevention Research Center at Georgia State University (PRC GSU) in collaboration with the Georgia State Department of Counseling and Psychological Services and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), received a $100,000 federal grant from DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry, approved by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, this week for an innovative new mental health pilot project that aims to improve refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) communities’ access to much-needed mental health support and services. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) which helps mitigate COVID-related needs of DeKalb County residents.

“This investment from Commissioner Ted Terry will not only help address the COVID-related mental health challenges for Clarkston residents but will also provide the opportunity for recent GSU graduates to obtain invaluable clinical experience while making a real difference in the community,” said Dr. Michael Eriksen, Regents’ Professor in the School of Public Health and principal investigator of the Prevention Research Center at Georgia State University (GSU).

Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry, a Clarkston resident himself and a large supporter of the Clarkston Mental Health Alliance and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), believes that investing in mental health resources is paramount, especially for the county’s refugee communities since access and resources are limited.  Commissioner Terry approached the organization and encouraged them to apply for this grant. 

“ARP Grants are a crucial way that we as a Board of Commissioners can ensure the county is investing in improved quality of life for all of our citizens,” Terry said. “This money will be used to directly impact patients’ lives and demonstrates a true investment in economic growth, community, and health and wellbeing. Breaking down barriers and making mental health treatment more accessible is one of my top priorities in office, and I will expand that effort at every opportunity. This collaboration not only expands this access, it also minimizes language and cultural barriers that prevent many from seeking the help that they need.

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on the financial and resource insecurity of many residents and local nonprofits. The lack of access to mental health care is particularly problematic in Clarkston, where over 40% of those screened at the Clarkston Community Health Center were identified as having at least one psychiatric diagnosis, compared with 20% in the general population. For many populations of color, barriers to mental health care include its cost, prior experiences with systemic racism/discrimination, mistrust of mental healthcare providers, and cultural stigma related to mental illness. Refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities – such as those who reside in Clarkston – face additional challenges, including those related to a lack of access to transportation, limited English proficiency/health literacy, and lack of availability of culturally-appropriate care. 

Prior to leaving their home countries, many RIM individuals are exposed to traumatic life events (e.g., loss of loved ones, combat, torture); the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder in refugee populations is as high as 86% (compared to 7-8% in the general population). A survey conducted at the start of the COVID pandemic by the GSU PRC found that 61% of RIM community members in Clarkston reported feeling scared, anxious, and worried in the past 7 days. This dire situation is not insurmountable, however. Data collected during a one-year grant from the Atlanta Women’s Foundation to the IRC showed that, among the 80% of RIM women who were identified as needing mental health screening, 100% of the women referred to services after screening consented to accept mental health services with partner agencies. Members of our Clarkston community need – and want – the help, yet resources are woefully inadequate.

“ As we know, there is no community that has a sufficient level of mental health services available. In circumstances when service delivery is limited, we often see communities in which additional cultural and language barriers result in residents gaining access to even fewer of those supportive services,” says Justin Powell, Executive Director of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Atlanta. “This partnership will allow experts and recent graduates to “push in” to a refugee resettlement agency and work alongside caseworkers, social workers, teachers, and after-school counselors to help normalize mental health services. It will allow for early intervention and the chance to provide appropriate and evidence-based support services rather than waiting to intervene with services once a situation becomes an acute crisis. We at the IRC look forward to working with our partners from GSU to ensure these critical services reach community members in a responsible, holistic, and empowering way.”

The Clarkston Mental Health Alliance will consist of 5 Masters-level, post-graduate clinicians who will be based at the IRC headquarters. These supervised clinicians will be part of a collaborative care team working alongside IRC caseworkers to screen for, identify and immediately address mental health problems among IRC-affiliated clients.

Dr. Jonathan Orr, a licensed counseling supervisor and counselor educator at GSU specializing in trauma-related therapies, will supervise the clinicians. “This is an exciting opportunity for graduates of Georgia State University’s master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) to engage in meaningful community work while building their own careers as licensed professional counselors.”

By investing in early-stage career clinicians, the Clarkston Mental Health Alliance will be able to invest in a sustainable mental health workforce for the Clarkston community and be well-positioned to provide culturally competent and trauma-sensitive continued care in the future. 


DeKalb County Continues to Offer $100 Gift Cards for COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children Ages Five and Older

DECATUR, Ga.—DeKalb County Commissioners Ted Terry and Jeff Rader sponsored a vaccination event where 426 adults and children were vaccinated against COVID-19 on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Center for Pan Asian Community Services in Atlanta. 

Everyone who got vaccinated received a $100 prepaid cash card. DeKalb County is the only county in the state giving $100 to everyone ages 5 and up.

“The turnout today has been tremendous,” Commissioner Terry said. “We’re seeing a shift and acceptance in the community where more families want to get vaccinated. It’s a real glimmer of hope.” 

“We know $100 incentives make a difference for people and can help ensure that if you get sick after getting your shot, and you miss a day of work or don’t have childcare, that extra money in your pocket can lessen the anxiety about getting vaccinated,” Commissioner Rader said.

“The rain didn’t stop our communities from coming out today,” said Lily Pabian, of We Love Buford Highway, one of the community organizers of the event. “With heart and help from dozens of volunteers, we served over 2,000 people with over 12,000 pounds of fresh foods, toys, Santa pics, holiday cheer, and COVID-19 and flu vaccines for anyone who wanted one.” 

Vaccinations were scheduled to be administered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the event was extended to 4:30 p.m. due to the tremendous turnout. 

“We gave 83 children and 58 adults their first shot,” said Dr. Omar Aziz, of Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE). “Over 250 got boosters and 34 people got second shots. We’re seeing a real spike in attendance when incentives are offered. We are thrilled DeKalb County is offering this opportunity for its residents.”

DeKalb County, the DeKalb County Board of Health, CORE, International Rescue Committee, and the Steed Society are partnering with over 60 community organizations to coordinate, promote and support vaccine events in “low-vax” areas.

DeKalb County Continues to Offer $100 Gift Cards for COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children Ages Five and Older, 

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“Smaller events at trusted community locations create safe spaces for people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated. It’s important to offer education, translators and time to get questions answered by respected leaders,” said Munson Steed, chair of the Steed Society.

Commissioners Rader and Terry assisted in bringing the incentives to the event. 

“Our goal is to continue these smaller, incentivized community events throughout DeKalb County until we have shots in arms—and boosters—for all of DeKalb’s diverse residents,” said Commissioner Terry.                               

Members of the Hispanic, Latino and Asian communities made up the majority of holiday festival attendees. Fundacion Adelante Guatemala, CareSource of Georgia, Chamblee Charter High School, Cross Keys High School, Oglethorpe University, Los Vecinos de Buford Highway and City of Brookhaven were all partners in the holiday event.


Full resolution photos, videos and interviews can be found at this link.