01/03/05 — Mental Health Association seeks members, donations

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Mental Health Association seeks members, donations

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on January 3, 2005 1:56 PM

The Mental Health Association in Wayne County is in the midst of its annual membership drive, its incoming president said today.

The drive will raise money to support the association's plans for 2005, Bobby Jones said. "It's an exciting time of the year for us, and we're making a real push to kick this year off right."

And for the first time, people will have a financial incentive to sign up. Association members will continue to be able to attend the regular Lunch-and-Learn seminars for free, while non-members will be charged $5 for their meals.

Individual memberships cost $20 a year and family memberships are $35. Other levels of sponsorship are available.

The membership drive gives the association an educational opportunity, said Jones. "It's an opportunity to make people aware of our programs and also bring them into our organization."

The association has three events scheduled next month.

The association will hold its annual luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the Goldsboro Country Club. Michael Moseley, director of the N.C. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, will be the guest speaker.

The association will also install its officers, including Jones as president. Tickets for the luncheon will go on sale Monday, Jan. 10. Call 734-3530 to make reservations.

The association has also worked with the Wayne County public schools to schedule a workshop for Tuesday, Feb. 8, on autism spectrum disorder. The fee is $15 for all non-public school employees and Mental Health Association members.

The Lunch and Learn seminars resume Wednesday, Feb. 16, with a program on dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The fee will be $5 for non-members.

Its programs include:

*Depression and Substance Abuse Screening -- Free and confidential testing by certified therapists is offered in schools, workplaces and the community. People found to have potential problems are given information on where to find help.

*Pierre the Pelican -- a monthly educational newsletter designed to increase parenting skills, mental health awareness and developmental skill for parents of children ages 0-5.

*Lunch and Learn Seminars -- hour-long informational workshops given throughout the year on mental health issues. Lunch is provided.

*Operation Santa Claus -- Through donations, Christmas gifts are bought and given to the forgotten mentally ill, elderly and the homeless in Wayne County institutions, nursing homes and homeless shelters.

*Health Fairs -- Volunteers and staff go into the community and educate the public about mental illness.

*May is Mental Health Month -- Several community events are planned to spotlight mental health issues and awareness.

*Teddy Bear Picnics -- In May, the staff and volunteers will do activities in local elementary schools to promote good mental health awareness.

*In-Service Training for Emergency Personnel -- Police officers and other first responders learn about treating and handling the mentally ill.

*Advanced Classroom Management -- These are workshops for new and lateral-entry teachers to help them manage their classrooms with difficult students.

The Mental Health Association in Wayne County was chartered in 1962 to work for the prevention of mental illness, the removal of the stigma associated with mental illness and the relief of suffering of people with mental or emotional illness.

The volunteer-run association helped start the Wayne County Mental Health Center, which is now a part of Eastpointe.

It continues to serve as a voice for the mentally ill, an advocate for quality mental health treatment and a promoter of mental health through public programs.

Yearly memberships are available and are tax deductible. Members are invited to quarterly meetings, receive a newsletter, can attend free seminars, have opportunities to volunteer, and have other membership privileges in the local association and affiliation with the state and national mental health associations.

Membership rates are: Individual, $20; family, $35; and civic/church, $50.

Also, sponsorship levels are bronze, $100-$249; silver, $250-$499; gold, $500-$999; and platinum, $1000 and over.

Donations may be mailed to The Mental Health Association in Wayne County, P.O. Box 1476, Goldsboro, N.C. 27533. Call 919-734-3530 for more information.