02/21/13 — Eastpointe to educate through Lunch and Learn

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Eastpointe to educate through Lunch and Learn

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 21, 2013 1:46 PM

One goal of the newly expanded Eastpointe is to provide more information to the public, starting with monthly "Lunch and Learn" events covering a variety of topics, officials say.

While mental health services continue to be a need, prevention and education are also vital, said Suzanne Lewis, community relations specialist at the Goldsboro office of Eastpointe.

During her 15 years in the public health system, there have been many changes -- from a one or two-county role to the merger in July when Eastpointe tripled in size, growing from four to 12 counties.

"Even though Eastpointe is one entity, we serve 12 counties and those counties are not uniform," said Kathy Baker, communications officer based in Lumberton.

The community relations department provides more direct contact between Eastpointe and the community, Ms. Lewis said.

Originally from Mount Olive, she joined the Goldsboro office 10 years ago, at a time when the beginnings of mental health reform were being discussed.

"Even though Eastpointe covers 12 counties, we still have a lot of presence that is seen, and locally that presence is Suzanne Lewis," Mrs. Baker said. "Suzanne's role is not only to disseminate information but to gather information. "She's looking for feedback from the community -- how are things going, are you aware of how to access resources?"

The job of community relations specialist is relatively new, and entails developing partnerships with agencies and organizations in each community.

One of the first public efforts will be the monthly "Lunch and Learn" programs. Each regional office will determine subjects pertinent to that community.

Dates and locations of the monthly events in Wayne County will vary, Ms. Lewis said.

"The times may change between midday and early evening, and the locations," she explained. "What won't vary is that it will be the third week of every month. We'll have a variety of speakers, and I'm going to try to schedule out as far or lock in as far as we can."

Eastpointe also has a call center that features a toll-free number that people can call anytime, Ms. Lewis said.

"Our call center has been operational for many, many years," she shared during the recent annual meeting of the Mental Health Association in Wayne County. "That's not changed. The call center is 24/7/365. Any time you call the number, you're going to get an answer, to get a response from a trained professional who's going to refer you to a provider."

The number to the call center is 800-913-6109.