Muscogee County Mental Health Court
Our Area’s Voice on Mental Illness
With more than 1,200 affiliates, NAMI
is America's largest grassroots mental
health organization dedicated to
improving the lives of all individuals
affected by mental illness.
Inside This Issue
Upcoming Events Calendar
Help Us Go To Jail
NAMI on Campus
5 Ways to Love Your Depressed
P.O. Box 8581
Columbus, GA 31908
Georgia Crisis & Access Line
Single Point of Entry to access mental
health, addictive disease and crisis
Peer Support “Warm Line”
The Georgia Mental Health Consumer
Network operates a state-funded,
consumer-directed “warm line” for
anyone struggling with mental health
issues, 24 hours a day
Columbus ACT Team
Presenter: Maureen Berry,
Coordinator Court Services
April 20th, 2015
The guest speaker for our monthly education meeting is
Maureen Berry, Coordinator of Court Services. Maureen
interacts among the treatment providers, consumers, the jail
and the State and Superior Courts. Some of the areas she will
cover in her talk include:
• who is eligible?
• what about people who are not eligible?
• where do referrals come from?
• what are the requirements for participation?
One of the facts that surprises many NAMI members is when
they learn of the high number of consumers who have criminal
justice issues. The Muscogee County Mental Health Court came
into existence because of a monthly educational meeting
presentation from Mr. Paul Morris, RN. Paul is the Health
Services Administrator for the Muscogee County Jail. He came
to our meeting to address how members could best support
their loved ones who might be in jail. When he learned of
NAMI’s mission and how many adult relatives of members were
in jail, he talked about the subject of mental health courts. New
Horizons was immediately on board, and joined with NAMI and
our other partners to make our highly successful mental health
court come into being. Paul is very well liked by our members
because of the innovative programs and mental health
advocacy he has brought to our area.
Board of Directors:
Dr. Shelley Reed
Mental Health Court
Please mark your calendar and attend. We want all our
members to be as educated as possible on all services that help
consumers reach recovery.
If you are able, please bring a refreshment for our goodies table!
NAMI Georgia mailed State Board of
Directors voting ballots last week to
members in good standing. If you did not
receive a ballot in the US Mail, it is
possible that your membership has lapsed.
Just because you are receiving e-mails
from us or NAMI Georgia, it does NOT
mean you are an active member. The
easiest way to check is to go online to
www.nami.org and click on join.
April, 2015 ~~ Page 1 of 6
(Below are chances for you to get involved)
National Mental Health Month
Monthly Education Program
Topic: Mental Health Court
Maureen Berry, Guest Speaker
20-24 Columbus Police Dept. CIT
NAMI Georgia Annual Meeting (see attached
NAMI Georgia Newsletter)
Every Saturday is Market Days, downtown
Columbus. Come be a part of the fun!
10am-2pm My Cry in the Dark Symposium—
Issues Surrounding Women and Depression
4925 Forest Road
Children’s MH Awareness Week
Mental Health Court Graduation
5 pm, Plaza Level, Columbus Government
Nat’l Children’s MH Awareness Day
NAMI Columbus Board Meeting
Monthly Education Program
“Open” Support Groups:
Every Monday night, 6-7:30 pm
Family/Friend and NAMI Connection Recovery Support Groups
Both groups meet at New Horizons Behavioral Health, 4411
Every Saturday 1-2:30 pm
NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group
Meets at The Bradley Center’s Multipurpose Room
Consumers: Help us Go to Jail!
A few years ago, NAMI Columbus was the first Georgia affiliate to hold meetings inside the cellblocks
of the Muscogee County Jail (male, female and veterans dorms). We also held NAMI Connection
meetings in the DRC (Day Reporting Center) of the Columbus Probation Center. Slowly those
opportunities went away because of various circumstances that arose with our volunteers. NAMI
Columbus has been asked by Jail Chaplain, Neil Richardson and New Horizons Behavioral Health
Psychologist, Dr. Cynthia Pattillo, Director of Mental Health for the Muscogee County Jail, to restore
these valuable services.
Imagine how you felt when you first started becoming sick. Were you confused by your symptoms or
behaviors? Did you have more questions than answers? Well, that is probably what inmates are
feeling in the mental health dorms of the jail. I can’t even imagine being in jail and not understanding
exactly what it is that landed me there. THAT is where NAMI Columbus members can come to their
We can’t do anything about the circumstances that put them there, that’s for the criminal justice
system to handle. But peers CAN educate them about their illness by teaching them aspects from the
Peer-to-Peer class that will help them learn how to manage their illness. We can also support them
using the principles from NAMI Connection Recovery Support Groups. How powerful has it been for
you to learn the power of “You Are Not Alone”? When you are in jail, that is a powerful source of
Here are the qualifications we are looking for:
• Have a diagnosis
• Have taken Peer-to-Peer
• Willing to volunteer once or twice a month after being cleared by jail staff
• Cannot currently be on probation (released from probation for 1 year or longer)
• Wanting to make a difference in someone’s life
If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call
the NAMI Columbus office at 706.320.3755 and leave your name and number on the voice mail.
April, 2015 ~~ Page 2 of 6
NAMI on Campus (at CSU)
Making a Difference at Colleges and Universities
Balancing papers, exams and a social life can make college a stressful experience. For
students already living with a mental illness, there are additional aspects of the college
experience to navigate. Some of the best support a student can receive is from peers.
To help make that happen, NAMI National created NAMI on Campus.
NAMI on Campus clubs provide students with what they have repeatedly said they
want: peer-run mental health organizations on campus. These student-led clubs help:
• Support fellow students
• Raise mental health awareness
• Educate the campus community
• Promote and advocate for services and supports
NAMI on Campus clubs address mental health issues so that all students have a
positive, successful and fun college experience.
NAMI Columbus is thrilled that Columbus State University has formed a NAMI on
Campus Club. They have big plans to help us eradicate stigma through education,
advocacy and support. Columbus State University is one of only two Georgia
universities that have a NAMI on Campus Club. A big WELCOME goes out to the
founding members pictured below.
Delores (Dee) Anderson, RN-President
Amanda Miron- Activities Coordinators
Brianna McClain- Publicity Coordinator
Will Bishop- Group member
Charise Clay-Vice President
Alex Williams- Activities Coordinators
Eric Nicey- Fundraising Coordinator
Erin Abell, Club Advisor
For more information concerning NAMI on Campus at CSU, contact Dee Anderson,
RN, at [email protected]
April, 2015 ~~ Page 3 of 6
MARKET DAYS IS
Last year’s inauguration for our booth space at Market
Days each Saturday morning was an overwhelming
success. We were able to raise funds and many, many
new people found their way to our support groups and
classes. April 11, 2015 is the beginning again for NAMI
Columbus’ Market Days.
We need baked goods and homemade items to sell, so
let’s put our heads together to think of things that are
effective money makers. We need talented members
who are crafty and anyone else who has creativity to
make items that we can use to generate much needed
funds for NAMI.
You can volunteer any amount of time from 8am (for set
up) until noon at the 1000 block of Broadway (opposite
the CSU Bookstore). Please email Phil Tirado at
[email protected] (preferred method) or call him at
706.587.4447 if you wish to volunteer or have some
creative ideas! We want to make some serious money
AND do some serious stigma busting on Saturdays. Let’s
get our 2015 party started!
MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH
What can you do to help us spread the word?
Got a project or event that you think would be good? Get
in touch with us at [email protected] and let us know
about your idea.
April, 2015 ~~ Page 4 of 6
5 Ways to Love Your Depressed Friend
Posted: 03/25/2015 8:00 am Huff Post Blog
By Mary Katherine Backstrom
Have you been there? Those who have aren't
likely to forget it.
Basic tasks become cumbersome monsters,
impossible to conquer. Brushing your teeth can
feel like a marathon. Sunshine is offensive. Rainy
days make it worse.
My best friend suffers terribly from depression. It
breaks my heart to see. At first, everything inside
of me wanted to drag her out of her house into a
world of sunshine and happiness. Maybe she
would feel better if, well... she just tried? I talked to
her about how beautiful life is. Reminded her of
her countless blessings.
Cause that will totally fix it!
I wasn't being helpful. In fact, I was being clueless.
Depression isn't rooted in laziness or ingratitude.
And while my ideas weren't innately bad -- I realized I was trying to make myself feel better about her
depression. I spoke with my friend. I asked outright: What should someone do for a loved one who is suffering?
Together we discussed her feelings. Her perspective. Her pain. And then we worked on some bearings that
really helped me be a better friend. Today I'd like to share those with you.
1) Ask and Accomplish. First of all -- ask your friend: What is overwhelming you most right now?
Is she tired from a fussy baby? Are the dishes in the sink feeling like an impossible task? Maybe the laundry is
piled up to the ceiling and it makes her want to hide in bed. Do it. Hold her baby so she can shower and sleep.
Start a load of dishes. Fold the laundry. It's amazing what a small thing can do for the mindset of an
2. Understand that depression is a chemical, physical illness. A whole host of "invisible" illnesses are
caused by chemical imbalances of the brain. You wouldn't tell a buddy with a broken leg to "just walk it out." In
the same way, your hurting friend can't make the pain just disappear. Be kind. Be patient. Your friend is sick, in
legitimate pain, and in need of support.
3. Offer your presence with no expectations. Sometimes, doing little things can make a huge difference.
Check in with a phone call. Drop off a Starbucks with a hug. Offer to babysit.
But do these things with no strings attached. No expectations. Your friend's mood may not visibly brighten
when you are with her -- but that doesn't mean you aren't helping. Remember that her sadness is the illness.
Try not to take it personally.
4. Notice -- and celebrate -- little efforts. Did she get outdoors? Does her hair look nice? This may seem like
common sense-but tell her! Little encouragements are very affirming to someone who is pushing back against
5. Know Your Limits. Your friend has an illness that merits professional intervention. You can't be their
doctor, so don't try. Suggesting ways they could "feel better" is really a bad idea unless they ask. What you can
-- and should do -- is be a shoulder to cry on, a hand to reach for, and a hug that is sorely needed.
Depression is hard. Not only for the sufferer, but for their loved ones as well. But you-as a friend -- have a
powerful opportunity. You can bring a little sunshine to someone stuck in the rain.
And that is a beautiful thing.
April, 2015 ~~ Page 5 of 6
P.O. Box 8581
Columbus, GA 31908
Our Area’s Voice on Mental Illness
Many people find their way to our classes by first attending a support group. If you are a NAMI
Columbus “long timer” (we don’t want to call you old), please attend either of the two weekly NAMI
Connection support groups or the weekly Family support group. Newcomers can use your wisdom and
hard-earned experience. Sharing a message of recovery gives the hope they are searching for. Many
people tell us that the NAMI motto “You Are Not Alone” is the initial feeling they realize at their first
meeting. If you are willing to train to be a support group facilitator, let us know!
I want to support NAMI Columbus
and NAMI’s mission.
Please Cut and Mail NAMI National, NAMI Georgia and NAMI
Columbus are dedicated to eradicating stigma
and improving the lives of persons with mental
illnesses thereby also benefiting their friends,
family and community. Catch the wave and be
a part of change.
Phone Numbers (do not enter a number if you do not want to be
listed in the Membership Directory (members only).
E-Mail (Please include so we can be green and email you
our monthly newsletter.)
Please check type of membership desired:
Individual Membership $35 Dues
Professional Membership $50 Dues
(Individual and Professional Dues are for one year
and are tax deductible.)
$3 Open Door Membership (financial hardship)
I am not joining at this time, but I would like to make a
contribution of $ ______________. (Thank you!!!)
NAMI Columbus is one of the largest affiliates in
Georgia. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable
organization. Dues and donations are tax
deductible. Membership includes a subscription
to our monthly newsletter, membership directory,
and access to immediate news on advocacy,
treatment and support issues from our national,
state and local organizations.
Please make checks payable to:
P.O. Box 8581
Columbus, Georgia 31908
You can also join safely online at
www.nami.org/join ($35.00 by credit card).
April, 2015 ~~ Page 6 of 6