By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
A local mental health organization promotes advocacy and education. Mental Health America of the Tar River Region offers programs to Edgecombe and Nash County residents.
“We’re basically an education, referral and advocacy agency,” said Ron Scott, interim director/ program director for Mental Health America TRR. “The mental health system, with all the different laws and regulations, is a tough system to get through…We help them navigate the mental health system.”
Referring people to local mental health professionals is one of the primary functions of Mental Health TRR, a non-profit organization that receives funding from Eastpointe, the Local Management Entity, and United Way Tar River Region. Mental Health America TRR also offers programs free of charge to the public. A two-day workshop, Wellness Recovery Action Plan, gives participants methods of minimizing their mental health disorder “triggers,” such as lack of sleep, and ways to manage symptoms.
“It helps individuals help themselves,” Scott said.
Another program offered is a suicide prevention class called QPR – Question, Persuade, Refer – for those working with a mental health consumer exhibiting suicidal tendencies. The class gives participants persuasion tactics and specific mental health professional referrals to help the consumer.
“One in four people now (in America) have some form of mental illness, whether it’s depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, an eating disorder,” Scott said. “It not only affects the person who has it, but it affects everybody around them.”
To Scott, that’s why being an advocate for those with mental health problems, and educating the public about mental health, is important.
“We try to fight the discrimination against mental illness,” Scott said. “Why should you be any different because you have a mental condition instead of a physical condition? Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.”
Children aren’t left out of the mental health equation. Mental Health America TRR does two mental health programs in the elementary schools, “Healthy Minds, Healthy Children” in the first grade and “OK2BKIND,” an anti-stigma/ anti-bullying program in the fourth grade. The mental health organization plans to begin a program this school year for eighth grade faculty and counselors called, “Teenager: Typical or Troubled?”
Mental Health America TRR is staffed primarily by volunteers but is currently seeking a full-time executive director. Those interested in applying for the position of executive director may visit HYPERLINK "http://www.tarrivermha.org" www.tarrivermha.org and click on “jobs.”
Those seeking services from Mental Health America TRR should call the office at 937-8820 or send an email to HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org. Mental Health America TRR is located at 2501 Sunset Ave. in Rocky Mount.