DAVIDSON COUNTY — Mental health services are now more accessible for Thomasville residents thanks to the efforts of a group of Davidson County residents.
A partnership with Northwest Piedmont National Alliance on Mental Illness will bring meetings to the area via Zoom and, eventually, to First Reformed United Church of Christ in Lexington. When COVID restrictions are lifted, meetings will be held in person, but in the meantime, all meetings are offered on Zoom.
Cathy Browder, who sits on the board of the NW NAMI chapter, reiterated that the mission of the organization is to provide support, education, advocacy and public awareness so that all affected by mental illness can build better lives. Now instead of having to go to Winston-Salem or Greensboro for mental health support services, many will now have the ability to remain in their home county.
“We just called together a group of people from our church and said we’re going to have this Zoom call, talk about NAMI, mental illness and getting some help in Davidson County,” Browder said. “The way it worked out is that we discovered NW NAMI, which serves Forsyth, Davie and Stokes counties. We reached out to them and asked if we could join their affiliate.”
Browder said NW NAMI asks for someone to join the board when a new county joins the affiliate, so she represents Davidson County on the board. Working under their patronage, Browder said the county has been given full access to four key services offered through NW NAMI.
The first of these services is a family support group, which occurs on a monthly basis, where individuals can talk to each other about experiences with a loved one afflicted by a mental health condition. Additionally, NW NAMI offers an eight-week educational program for family members and those who support loved ones battling mental illness.
Peer to peer groups allow the mentally ill to learn coping mechanisms, and connection recovery support groups meet monthly to allow individuals to talk about how they’ve been coping with their mental condition. Long term, Browder anticipates the possibility of branching out to include Crisis Intervention Team training for law enforcement.
For now, the priority remains finding those in need of help and recruiting individuals willing to help with the groups.
“Once we are in person, we’re going to need more facilitators,” said. “Once we’re out of this COVID world and we do have in-person meetings, we’re going to need more people in Davidson County who are willing to facilitate these sessions.”
For individuals who wish to assist with the meetings, those who are living with someone or are supporting someone with a mental illness are encouraged to volunteer for support groups. Those willing to train for this are asked to visit https://naminc.org/become-a-program-leader. Browder is scheduled for training in February and will be glad to speak to anyone about the process.
If you or someone you know is living with or supporting an individual with a mental health challenge, please contact Browder at email@example.com.
Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741.
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.