4 Rivers Spring 2018 Update
Any new startup is frightening and challenging. A little over a year ago, a group of concerned mental health advocates met to discuss community support for individuals with mental health issues and their families. Together, these advocates brought a vision to begin a new affiliate in Southwest Mississippi known as NAMI 4 Rivers MS. With support and leadership, and with willing hearts and hands, these individuals laid the groundwork for the new affiliate which offers support, education, and advocacy for this area. Also, a big shout-out goes to the NAMI Mississippi State Office (too many to name) for supporting us with all facets of our startup. Special thanks to Latoya Coleman, the first NAMI 4 Rivers MS president, who has moved on to new opportunities. Please help us welcome Kate Morrow, our new president. Kate brings with her years of experience in the mental health area and recently relocated to this area after years of service in Maryland.
Our name, NAMI 4 Rivers MS, comes from the four rivers in Southwest Mississippi (Homochitto, Bogue Chitto, Pearl and Mississippi River). We are a diverse group of professionals, lay people, neighbors, friends, and individuals with a mental health issue and their family members. The one thing we have in common is the desire, interest, and compassion to help support individuals and their communities in the various areas of mental health. 4 Rivers has taken on a daunting task: It encompasses 10 counties and tracks two mental health organizations, which includes Region 8 (Lincoln County) and Region 11 (Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Franklin, Lawrence, Jefferson, Pike, Walthall, and Wilkinson counties). 4 Rivers has held four quarterly affiliate meetings in the past year – two in Brookhaven, one in McComb, and one in Natchez with more to come. Our last affiliate meeting on Feb. 27, 2018, was held in Natchez at the Natchez Convention Center where we learned about Crisis Intervention Teams and the commitment process in Adams County.
In June of 2017, five members attended the Signature Programs Training Academy in Raymond, and they took the Family Support Group and Peer-to-Peer courses. They also participated in NAMIWalks on November 11. 4 Rivers launched our first Family Support Group in January, which meets once a month on the second Thursday of the month in Brookhaven at the Episcopal Church at 6:30 p.m. Peer-to-Peer will be starting soon. We want to continue our outreach efforts to recruit and establish relationships with the outlying communities, and now have enough members to host a training session in our area (TBA). Please call the NAMI Mississippi office in Jackson at (601) 899-9058 if you are interested in becoming involved. We welcome new members to our affiliate and hope to see more people become involved as we seek to help those who need us most.
– Submitted by: Curtis Oliver