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Meridian Spring 2018 Update

Happy New NAMI Year! We are already hard at work showing our presence and support for 2018, but first, we want to share an update on our annual December service project – Christmas gift bags.

CIT Officers from the Lauderdale County Sheriff Department waste no time in helping themselves to the delicious spread during their appreciation reception, February 27. (Courtesy NAMI Meridian)

In December 2017, the affiliate collected and purchased items for the annual service project, disseminated the items into 108 gift bags, and then distributed the gift bags to a local homeless shelter, Alliance Health Center, and the DeKalb group home. Children from Alliance Health Center, Southeast Elementary and Southeast Middle schools colored Christmas cards for the bags. Children from Southeast Elementary school and Clarkdale Attendance Center colored the bags with Christmas scenes.

Weems Community Mental Health Center assisted the affiliate by collecting and purchasing items to insert into an additional 236 bags that they filled and delivered on behalf of NAMI Meridian to adults participating in 12 different psychosocial rehabilitation programs. Kids from Weems’ Division of Children and Youth festively decorated the gifts bags.

Thank you to all who helped bring a smile to so many faces and hearts during the last Christmas season by donating or purchasing items, organizing them, and assembling and delivering the bags.

In January 2018, detailed planning began for our annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) appreciation event to be held in February. Part of the planning was to once again establish February as CIT Awareness Month statewide by a proclamation from Governor Phil Bryant. Also, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors and Meridian’s Mayor Percy Bland declared the same locally.

This year, NAMI Meridian decided to take the appreciation receptions to the officers. Two receptions at the Lauderdale County Sheriff Department and two receptions at the Meridian Police Department were held in an effort to catch CIT officers as they transitioned shifts. We were able to have Weidmann’s Restaurant in Meridian cater each event, and the officers enjoyed a delicious menu of sandwiches, homemade potato chips, seasonal fruit, brownies, and cookies. Each CIT officer also received a nice padfolio with the East Mississippi CIT emblem embossed on the cover, for which they were very appreciative.

Our community partners generously supported CIT Awareness Month and sponsored the appreciation events. Sponsors for the event include Alliance Health Center, Rush Hospital, Weems Community Mental Health Center, Central Mississippi Residential Center, Lauderdale County Mental Health Association, Anderson Regional Health System, 1st Mississippi Federal Credit Union, Community Bank, Great Southern Bank, Long Creek Community Club, MUNA Federal Credit Union, Regions Bank, Citizens National Bank, and Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Individuals representing the sponsors, NAMI Meridian, the Connection Support Group, and the local Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority attended the appreciation events.

Members of NAMI Meridian Affiliate, CIT Officers from the Meridian Police Department, and supporters of the CIT program gather together, February 26, in front of stacks of padfolios which were given to all the CIT officers in appreciation of their going above and beyond for those dealing with a mental health crisis. (Courtesy NAMI Meridian)

Members of our affiliate then attended the ribbon cutting for NFusionX-Crossover Xpand on March 8.

On March 17, we participated in the Eliza Pillars Health Fair by setting up a booth and sharing information with several people about NAMI locally, statewide, and nationally.

Next, we will begin selling raffle tickets on April 16 for chances to win beach-themed prizes. The winners will be drawn on June 14 at our semi-annual membership drive at Bonita Lakes Park.

Our affiliate’s spring training session will be held April 26-28 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Meridian. Classes will be held to train facilitators for the Connection Support Group by Chris Marcell and Family Support Group by Patricia Battle. We will also try to have another training in the fall to include Basics facilitator training.

Plans are being worked on for our National Mental Health Awareness Month event on May 10, and our National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month event on July 19.

We are also beginning to gather information and volunteers to put together a NAMI Meridian affiliate walk in November with a focus on suicide awareness and prevention.

We hope that 2018 will be even more successful than past NAMI years. Here’s to showing our presence and sharing support to those who need us!

– Submitted by: NAMI Meridian affiliate members

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