STOPit App Expands to Community

Submitted by Kate Nichols

As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to an end, it is important to remember that mental health issues impact the lives of many of our community members every day of the year. Wayne County Family Connection, in partnership with Wayne Memorial Hospital and Rayonier Advanced Materials, is excited to share a new community-wide reporting tool that will connect individuals who have concerns regarding mental health problems and substance use disorders with local and regional resources that can help.

STOPit Solutions is a leading technology company that promotes public and personal safety by providing anonymous reporting systems and 24/7 incident monitoring services for schools, businesses and government entities across the nation. Anonymity empowers individuals to reach out for help regarding sensitive issues, and trained operators are guaranteed to address reports in less than an hour. Our county will have access to both of these services, as well as a 24/7 telephone hotline.

Once implemented, Wayne County residents can download the STOPit app on their smartphones and submit reports through the user-friendly interface. When a report is received, it is assessed and routed to local professionals who specialize in mental health treatment and substance use recovery. Reporters can then engage in a two-way dialogue with a real person while maintaining complete anonymity if desired. When enough information is gathered about the incident or concern, the representative can direct individuals to the resources that best fit their needs. Reports can also be submitted through the STOPit website or telephone hotline.

The STOPit program does not replace 911 in cases of emergency or immediate danger. However, STOPit monitoring offers law enforcement integration and, in the event an emergency is reported through the app, trained operators in the STOPit Incident Monitoring Center will immediately contact local authorities with all relevant information. 

School system employees and those with a child in high school may be familiar with the STOPit program. Since 2019, the Wayne County School System has utilized the program as a proactive tool to manage and prevent incidents such as bullying, substance use and self-harm. By expanding the program to include the entire county, prevention and intervention of mental health and substance use issues can be implemented on a larger scale.

The STOPit system will allow local organizations, many of whom are already part of the Wayne County Family Connection collaborative, to further their goals of reaching the individuals who need their services most.

“This system will help identify unmet needs of individuals right here at home, who are struggling or know someone who is struggling, and may be more comfortable reaching out for help knowing they will not be immediately identified,” explains Susan DeLeGal, member of the Mental Health Task Force at Wayne County Family Connection.

Stay tuned for more information about the Wayne County STOPit program in the coming weeks, including educational tutorials showing how to download the application and use it to submit reports. In the interim, questions can be directed to Wayne County Family Connection Director Lana Wright at, or 912-256-2150.

Family Connection Organizations Seek Volunteers

Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What you are doing for others?” There is just something special about devoting your time to make a difference in your community. 

volunteers raising hands

There are a lot of Partnerships within the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative that could use volunteers. One of our greatest needs is with Tri-County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). A CASA volunteer is an individual that has an independent voice in court who advocates solely for the best interest of the child. The CASA volunteer spends significant time getting to know the child, as well as reviewing records and interviewing the child, family members and other relevant persons to determine the facts and circumstances of the child’s situation. 

A CASA volunteer is a dedicated member of the community who is appointed by a judge to advocate for the best interest of an abused or neglected child in the state’s care.  A CASA Volunteer has the ability to alter a child’s life in a positive way. The Program ensures that foster children are not forgotten, but rather are afforded every opportunity to have a happy and healthy life. If you would like to know more information about this opportunity, please contact Pam Holmes at 912- 367-0064 or visit their volunteer page on their website.

Check out our Resource Directory for more ways to volunteer.

Another place that you can also visit to find out more information about areas to volunteer in is our Resource Directory on the website. You can find various category listings including Volunteer Opportunities at the bottom of the page. This features each organization that has some sort of volunteer based program for you to be a part of. Some organizations are:

  • LIFE Inc.
  • Fairhaven 
  • Skylark
  • Wayne Memorial Hospital Educational Services
  • Pineland
  • United Way of South Georgia
  • Wayne County UGA Extension Office
  • Action Pact
  • Face to Face Recovery
  • FreeHart Center

The list goes on and on and the opportunities are endless. To see change in your community, get involved by contacting one of these organizations.

If your organization is in need of needs volunteers and you don’t see it listed in the Resource Directory, you can update your Resource Directory listing on our website. You can also contact us to find out more information about each organization. We can get you in touch with the right people. 

Also, if your organization would like to educate, inform or update Wayne County citizens on a topic or event you’ve been working on – reach out to us so you can be featured here in the Articles section of our Family Connection website!

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150.  Our meetings are held on the 4th Monday of each month with the next meeting being held November 23rd.

Resource Directory Serving as Help Desk for Community

Families and friends all over Southeast Georgia are in search of more resources to support themselves through this difficult year. With over 120 listings in our Resource Directory, people can search for their needs using keywords or the advanced search option. After that, it will populate a list of customized resources based on your search along with contact information. The directory also gives you 36 different categories to choose from based on the assistance you are looking for. They include:

  • Children & Youth Services
  • Education / Training
  • Disabilities
  • Mental Health
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Teen & Young Adults
  • Job Assistance
  • Veteran Services

You can view all the categories in the Resource Directory here.

Pam Holmes, Executive Director of Tri-County CASA, states, “As a social worker for many years, I highly recommend this directory as a great resource for Wayne County and surrounding counties.” 

Tri-County CASA Inc. volunteers have been advocating for the foster children of Appling, Wayne and Jeff Davis counties for more than 20 years. CASA volunteers are also court-appointed special advocates. This means they are specially trained community citizens. For instance, they advocate for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system with the child’s best interest in mind. 

listings in resource directory

If your organization would like to be part of our Family Connection Collaborative like Tri-County CASA, you can submit a listing by clicking on the Resource Directory tab at the top and select ‘Create A Listing’ below the search.

Criteria for Resource Directory Listing

There is criteria an organization must fit to be listed in the Resource Directory. Additionally, programs must have an office in or serve residents of Wayne County. Lastly, and most importantly, if your agency is for profit, they must offer free or low cost services to the community. Some examples of organization are:

  • Advocacy groups related to health and human service issues.
  • Civic and business associations.
  • Information and referral services.
  • Community groups.
  • Chambers of Commerce.
  • Licensed childcare facilities.
  • Self-help support groups.
  • Administrative offices of public schools in Wayne County

Therefore, do your part in showing your friends and family our free Resource Directory. You can access the directory by going to the Resource Directory tab. 

If you are a part of an organization that is currently listed in our directory, we encourage you to view it and see if there are any changes that need to be made. After that, you can update the form by hovering over the ‘Resource Directory’ tab and clicking the Update Form button. 

Above all, our goal through this is to connect people to the resources they need to help improve our community overall.

The Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would also like to invite anyone in our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150 or  Meetings are held on the 4th Monday of each month. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on collaborative meetings and other events. Our next meeting is October 26th at 9:30am!