05/06/13 — Mental Health Association celebrating its history

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Mental Health Association celebrating its history

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 6, 2013 1:46 PM

In the summer of 1961, a group of Wayne County citizens recognized the need for mental health services and organized the Mental Health Association in Wayne County.

Two years later, the agency became a member of the United Fund of Goldsboro, funded by United Way of Wayne County.

That funding source stopped in 2009 and since, the MHA has fought hard to stay in existence. It was not reliant on the state Mental Health Association, which shut down services in 2011 following its own financial woes.

Now with 50 years under its belt, the local group is celebrating a rich history.

"Mental Health Association in Wayne County was the impetus to provide mental health services in the county, which led to the mental health center being developed," said Emily Peacock, board president. "We were instrumental in getting the community developmental school (Edgewood), for children with developmental disabilities. We were the first to begin the hotline."

The hotline became a part of emergency services of the Wayne County Mental Health Center in 1972, she added.

This month, which is also Mental Health Month, the group will celebrate with several events.

"We'll do a variety of activities and events to emphasize mental health awareness," said Mrs. Peacock. "The final thing is a money-maker, a fundraiser that's important to us. But really, we're trying to make the public aware of mental health issues and needs. We have tried to reach out through different venues to do that."

A special display will be offered at the Wayne County Museum the week of May 20, featuring the MHA as well as Cherry Hospital and Eastpointe.

Things kick off on Wednesday with a Lunch and Learn at WAGES, 601 Royall Ave., from noon until 1 p.m. "Mental Health Needs in Church" will be presented by CLIFF Bishop Anthony Slater, the Rev. Bill Ordelt Sr. and others. It is free and open to the public, but there is a $5 charge for lunch and registration is requested by today, by calling 919-734-3539 or email mhawc.att.net.

A professional development session for after school teachers and caregivers will be held at Wayne County Public Library on May 14, from 6:30-9 p.m. Topics will include "Bullying in the After School Care Setting" by Karla Jeffreys and "Working With At-Risk Youth" by Michael Herring. The event is free but registration is requested for credit hours through Wayne County Partnership for Children.

At month's end, a renowned psychologist who was himself a consumer of mental health services will speak. Dr. Frederick Frese, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a young Marine officer, will cover the topic "Coping with Mental Illness" on May 29 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Wayne County Public Library. This event is free and registration is not required.

On May 30 will be the benefactors' fundraiser reception from 5-7 p.m. at the Wayne County Museum. Entertainment will be provided by Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam. The program at 7 p.m. will center around "50 Years of Mental Health Service" and feature Wayne County residents who have been involved in mental health services over the years. The fundraiser is by invitation and the 7 p.m. program is open to the public.