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Pine Belt Summer 2017 Update

Greetings to all NAMI members and other friends! We continue to have mental health leaders speak to our affiliate members and guests each month regarding a variety of topics related to recovery. Pastor Thomas from Willow Pointe Church, an addiction specialist and minister, spoke of the recovery programs offered at Willow Pointe. He described the mission and the operation of two programs: “Celebrate Recovery” and “The Journey”. He believes that faith-based programs offer the best means to recovery.

William Carey University/Wikimedia Commons

At our June meeting, Dr. Tony Lee, Professor from William Carey University, described his personal experiences with his child who has Asperger’s Syndrome. He gave us exceptional insight into the challenges he and his family experienced during the child’s formative years. He also informed us of the variety of symptoms that may present themselves when a child is on the autism spectrum.

In June, we also participated in another Crisis Intervention Team training session. This time, there were law enforcement officers from Petal, the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department, Forrest General Hospital, and the City of Hattiesburg in the class. The CIT Program in Forrest County is seeking a single point of entry to establish a true jail diversion program. Currently, the Behavioral Health Court is assisting people to seek treatment instead of jail.

Our affiliate hosted its third annual Minority Mental Health Forum in July, with our great co-sponsor, the AKA Sorority. Numerous clients, providers, and family members were present. Mayor Toby Barker greeted more than 70 participants. There were two excellent presentations on the legacy and experience of suicide. They were followed by a panel of nine professionals from law enforcement, mental health agencies, judiciary, and the community at large. It was a town hall addressing the challenges facing mental health programs in an atmosphere of funding cuts. All those who attended were invited to join NAMI.

We are promoting the NAMI Walk in November, especially since it honors veterans this year. Stella and David Reed will be our affiliate co-captains for the event. We anticipate our usual outstanding support from the Pinebelt Mental Healthcare Resources team again this year. We also anticipate that the students from the Psychology Club at William Carey University will attend this year’s event. We will continue to reach out to William Carey and USM students who seek to establish NAMI on Campus programs during this calendar year.

We are still focused on expanding our membership, so the load can be shared as we fight to eradicate stigma and improve mental health care. We continue to reach out to veterans in need of assistance. We are companions on their journey!

– Respectfully submitted by Joe Kinnan, Ph.D.

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