Oxford Summer 2017 Update
Our primary project this quarter has been the Mental Health First Aid Workshop. This nationally-recognized program has been promoted at NAMI state conventions, and you may read more about it online at mentalhealthfirstaid.com.
The Oxford workshop attracted 12 participants, and was a focus on recognizing mental health disorders and what the ordinary person can do and say in a mental health crisis until professional help steps in. We chose to offer the eight-hour training sessions over a two-day period (Friday, June 2, from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, June 3, from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.). The sessions included an excellent combination of PowerPoint presentations, whole-group Q&A sessions, short videos and small group interactions.
In one simulation, groups of three participants role-played the “voices” that often occur with schizophrenia. In another creative project, small teams drew a depressed person and illustrated the physical impact of depression (see the drawing). The experiential learning was practical, exciting, and dynamic, thanks to the trained and experienced instructor, Kris Riddle, CLP, of LIFECORE in Tupelo. The well-done videos highlighted concrete, real-life situations that stimulated discussion.
Members of the affiliate donated lots of snacks for program breaks, including scrumptious homemade pastries, fruits, chocolates, and cheese. Because of our successful fundraising, this program was free to current (dues paid) NAMI Oxford members.
Prior to the workshop, affiliate members devoted time to planning discussions. Considerable efforts were made to inform local health care and school professionals — folks at AbilityWorks, Haven House, Communicare, NMRC, and the Oxford Police Dept. — as well as clergy, of the workshop.
Oxford’s other major priority has been to continue the Family-to-Family support group and the Connection group. Participation in these groups has remained stable and continues to attract new members. The national NAMI hotline has referred several calls to our local affiliate. We have spent several hours talking with referred individuals and developed a prospective membership list.
One tool that has proved useful in our public service outreach is the doctor list. NAMI people know how scarce medical help is in the state and how difficult it is to find the “right” professional. By sharing the experiences we have had with licensed practitioners in the field, we have developed a referral list. This list has proved very useful to people reaching out for a helping hand.
Mother-and-son team Hanne and Karsten Gaycken recently attended the national convention in Washington, D.C. They have returned with very exciting reports about their participation in various convention programs.
NAMI Oxford Election Results!
President: Amanda Williams
Vice President: Hanne Gaycken
Secretary: Clarice Ivy
Treasurer: Carol VanBesien
Affiliate Representative: Lynn Gilbert
At-Large Representative: Karsten Gaycken
At-Large Representative: Michael Danahy