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 www.waynehelp.com, familyconnection@waynehelp.com or 912-256-2150.

A number of services are available through LIFE Inc.

By Marquise Morgan

LIFE Inc.’s Jesup office is proud to share news of some of our recent developments within Wayne County with our Family Connection partners. We have had success working with the Area Agency on Aging to deploy ramps to various people, including a “Mrs. A” right here in Jesup. We also have developed a new service program centered around assisting people with COVID related expenses.

Mrs. A’s LIFE Story

Ms. A of Wayne County was one of our later AAA referrals, but nonetheless we were able to help her promptly after receiving the AAA info. Mrs. A was a soft-spoken women with post-polio syndrome that had also recently broken her leg. She mentioned the challenge her daughter and granddaughter had getting her down steep steps as a major challenge to her health and mobility.

Our procedures for assessing the need and getting a ramp built are quite intensive. For example, for Mrs. A, we took pictures of the property, measured the door frame and driveway, and sent the info. to Nationwide Ramps for an estimate. After that, we assess our funding options and approve the ramp with a waiver for the consumer. From there, it’s all up to Nationwide’s experts to deploy the sturdy and practically indestructible aluminum ramps for the consumer.

Mrs. A was absolutely elated over the ramp, thanking us profusely and commenting on how much it has eased her and her family’s logistical issues. In a testimonial, she said “it was truly a blessing and we thank you. I appreciate what LIFE has done for me and the ramp has greatly helped”. We were of course happy to help and even more pleased to hear that she felt it had a measurable improvement on her well-being.

Life Logo

COVID-19 Service Programs

Another development that has the great potential to be a boon for Wayne County would be our CARES ACT funded COVID-19 Service Programs. Using our relief funds, we have assembled a service delivery program to assist with various areas of need among our community. This includes food, rental and housing assistance, assistive tech and living aids, home modifications, utility assistance, transportation, assistance for medicine, childcare, and other things that can be linked to COVID related issues. This wide net will allow us to broadly deliver services to assist in a wide range of COVID related problems that a person may be having. Our qualifications for this program are roughly the same as our standard ones for service delivery (live in one of our 20 service counties; Must state that they have significant disability; must be a consumer). This also includes the added caveat of having to fill out some paperwork and do an intake with us to determine their qualifications for the program and to make sure the issue has a relation to COVID-19. Of course, if it not COVID related, we can still help them with our other core services. Without that, they are not eligible for the COVID-19 Service Delivery.

We are excited to be expanding our home modification program and to bring this COVID Services program to the people of Wayne County. If you have any questions, please contact our Jesup office at 912-385-2214, or email us directly at mmorgan@lifecil.com or rblack@lifecil.com. We hope to hear from and we’re here to help.

Coping with the Holiday Season

While Christmas is known as “the most wonderful time of the year”, it can also be a catalyst for stress, pressure, and conflict for many people. Some are feeling overwhelmed by the expectations, COVID 19, family issues, etc. and become depressed during the holidays. A lack of time, money, and the pressure of gift giving can often contribute to stress. I’m sure we all can relate in some form or fashion. Ultimately, it can take quite a toll on our mental health trying to keep the merry and joyous season all straight in our head. We’d like to share some advice that may help you stop stress and keep the season jolly!

First, as the season starts approaching, don’t let it be something you are already dreading.

Think positively…for example, say to yourself ‘This year is going to be different. I’m going to give with my heart and not let my circumstances control my emotions.’ By learning to recognize your holiday triggers, you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. 

Next, don’t let your mental health be overlooked during the holidays.

Many peoples’ feelings and emotions are amplified by the festivities of the Christmas season and new year. Don’t let this prevent you from reaching out if you need help with the problems you are experiencing. There are people that care about you and will take time to make sure you are in a good place.  

Also, Christmas is a time for re-connection with loved ones, whether that’s through Christmas cards, phone calls, Skype or family Facetimes. This Christmas, instead of simply exchanging small talk with family and friends, don’t be afraid to ask how they are really doing. Let the people close to you know that they can talk to you if they are ever feeling depressed or lonely, and vice versa. We understand that this year has been extremely difficult for some.

Lastly, we want our Wayne County community to support one another. 

During this time, check in with a support group, a therapist, a faith community, or friends who understand. Let your loved ones know that however you can support them, you will! It may be something as simple as picking up a few gifts for a neighbor or meeting up with a friend for a walk. 

We know that mental illness, emotional struggles, and other concerns can hinder someone from enjoying this holiday season. We have professional help available through our Mental Health Task Force team. If you or someone you know needs to speak to someone today – give our Mental Health Task Force a call. Weekdays 9am – 5pm: 912-530-8889 or After Hours: 912-256-2150.

We encourage you to share this article with your friends and family. If there is someone in your circle that could use help, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can be part of making a difference in our Wayne County community. Wishing you a joyous holiday season along with a little planning and positive thinking!

Give Your Child a ‘Head Start’ for Fundamental Success

head start program

Head Start is a quality child care service provided to three, four and five year olds founded by the Georgia Head Start Association to help these students become prepared for kindergarten. Fortunately, they have partnered with other agencies including Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, Inc. to provide services in Wayne and surrounding counties. Since 1967, Coastal GA Area Community Action Authority, Inc. has been providing a pathway to self-sufficiency for individuals facing challenging times. With the COVID pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, Head Start gives children the opportunity to continue to learn.

Head Start students are provided educational activities using the Creative Curriculum and children’s knowledge is tracked with outcomes provided to parents. When speaking with Tanisha Towns, Center Supervisor for Wayne County, we talked about how the enrollment is a little low this year. She states, “We can fully operate at a maximum capacity of 102 students but with the COVID virus, we currently have 63 enrolled.” She also states that they do require all students to wear masks, sanitize appropriately, and social distance. Another factor that comes into play is that parents are not allowed in the facility. Head Start staff meets the parents outside for drop off and pick up each day. Considering the circumstances, 63 students is still a great number to foster an enjoyment for learning, developing a positive attitude about school and helping each child reach their maximum potential.

So you may be wondering…who is eligible for this Head Start Program?

  • Families who meet income requirement
  • Homeless and foster children
  • Children with special needs

Nutritional meals and snacks are provided and mind you – all of this is at no cost to you! After all, they want to stick to their motto of ‘Helping people, changing lives, and building families’. Everyone deserves the best life possible. Reach out to someone you may know that could benefit from this impactful organization.

More information about Wayne County Head Start can be found in our Resource Directory. We encourage anyone to use the resources available on our website to meet your needs and help others do the same.

Find us on social media to send us your latest news and updates to share!

Please consider liking/following us on our social media to stay up to date with our community news and events. We can be found on Facebook at Family Connection – Wayne County, GA and Instagram at wcfamilyconnect. 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 on our website! Other promotional shout-outs will be in the Family Connection column of the Press-Sentinel, our social media, and an email sent to our collaborative members.

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in 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 at the end of January. Stay safe Wayne County community!

DFCS Still Open for Business

Many businesses have faced hardships since the pandemic causing some local small businesses to close their doors in Wayne County. Comparingly, we have also seen many businesses show their resilience by coming up with new ways to generate business and keep the same happy customers! We wanted to highlight a great organization that has done just that for the past several months. Regina Fraser, Director of Wayne County Family and Children Services, states, “As the front doors to the Department of Family and Children Services building have been locked since March, we want to remind the public that we are still working and are open for business, just not in the same fashion that we were prior to March 2020.”

That means that for the safety of their customers and staff, all of their services are now available online through the Division of Family and Children Services.

All services and operations are open for business and may be accessed through the following resources and application processes:

  • To report suspected child abuse or neglect Call DFCS Child Protective Services (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) at 1-855-GACHILD or 1-855-422-4453.
  • If you have questions about an existing child welfare case, call your case manager or their supervisor for support.
  • To apply for Food Stamps, Medical Assistance & TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Go to dfcs.georgia.gov/services and download a paper application. Mail it to Wayne County Family & Children Services at 1220 South 1st Street, Jesup, GA 31545
  • To check on your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), go to www.connectebt.com/gaebtclient
  • ADA Reasonable Modification Information can be found at dhs.georgia.gov/notices
  • To request an Application or Renewal Form by phone, call 877-423-4746
  • Obtain a paper application of any of these forms at the Blue Information Box outside our DFCS office
  • Completed applications should be placed in the drop box or mailed to Wayne County DFCS, 1220 S. First Street, Jesup, GA 31545

Download these printable flyers to use in your office.

More information about Wayne County DFCS can be found in our Resource Directory. We encourage anyone to use the resources available on our website to meet your needs and help others do the same.

Please consider liking/following us on our social media to stay up to date with our community news and events. We can be found on Facebook at Family Connection – Wayne County, GA and Instagram at wcfamilyconnect.

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 website!

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in 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 at the end of January. Stay safe Wayne County community!

November is National Home Care and Hospice Month

This month, we want to recognize the dedicated professionals who make a daily difference in the lives of the people they serve. These caregivers come in many roles from therapists and aids, administrators and nurses, CNAs and social workers. Their compassion and attention to detail improve the lives of every resident under their care. Their patience and time provide improved quality of life and peace of mind for family members. The month celebrates these qualities and so much more.

elderly woman looking at phone

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is the largest and most-respected trade association representing the nation’s home care and hospice organizations. The NAHC President William A. Dombi states, “Home care and hospice nurses, therapists, aides, and other providers who choose to use their lives to serve our country’s aged, disabled, and dying. This noble work deserves our recognition and praise and we celebrate November as Home Care & Hospice Month for that very reason. 

Take time to thank those who provide home care and hospice care. Their dedicated service should not go unnoticed.

Home Care Services in Wayne County

Some places in Wayne County that provide home care services are:

  • Heartland Hospice Serving Southeast Georgia
  • CHSGA Home Health & Affinis Hospice
  • Hospice of South Georgia
  • GHC Hospice 
  • Community Home Care

A special thank you to all of our home town and hospice heroes. You all have worked in the most extraordinary circumstances during the COVID 19 pandemic and beyond.

Please consider liking our Facebook page and following us on social media to stay up to date with our community news and events. 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 Family Connection column of the Press-Sentinel and on our website!

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in 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 this coming Monday at 9:30AM.

Source: NAHC.org

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.

Fair Haven Market helps those in need

By Kristen Balding

(Editor’s note: Kristen Balding is the outreach and awareness coordinator for Fair Haven. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)

store front of fair haven market

If you’re a native of Wayne County, you’re probably very familiar with Fair Haven Market– an eclectic thrift store located in the heart of Jesup right across the train tracks. You may have even heard of their daily sales, including their “Quarter Clothing Sale”, where most clothing can be purchased for only .25, but what you may not be aware of is the purpose behind your purchase and the difference that you’re making by choosing to shop at this “diamond in the rough” second-hand shop.  

The Market has a mission and that is to help those in need. Although, the main focus of Fair Haven is assisting survivors of domestic violence in the recovery process; with the generous donations provided by patrons and members of Wayne County, the store has been able to provide clothing, food, furniture, and other necessities to many countless people in need that aren’t victims of domestic violence.

Fair Haven Market has become a beacon of light to so many within our community that have fallen on hard times and have found themselves in hopeless situations.  

If you like to shop and want to purchase with a purpose, please consider visiting Fair Haven Market. You won’t be disappointed with knowing that your shopping is saving lives and making a positive difference locally!

To view their Resource Directory page, click here: Fair Haven

You can also like them on Facebook for updates, events, and market related posts by clicking the button below!

BeThe1To Campaign Recap

The BeThe1To campaign offers awareness of how you can help people through their struggles of everyday life.

The following images are for Wayne County Family Connection’s social media pages. You can view them and read the 5 Steps of the BeThe1To campaign on the Articles tab of our website.

BeThe1To title page

Our community can help one another with asking their friends and families about their mental health when they see them struggling:

BeThe1To campaign ask

Show someone in your life how much you care for them and that you’re glad they’re in your life:

BeThe1To campaign be there

Keep our community safe by knowing about the resources available to help people through difficult times:

BeThe1To campaign keep them safe

Let them know you are there for them through all the ups & downs of life by getting them connected with support in our community:

BeThe1To campaign help them connect

Lastly, follow up with someone in your life that you know has been facing some challenges:

BeThe1To campaign follow up

We know that mental illness, emotional struggles, and other concerns can hinder someone from living life to their fullest. We have professional help available through our Mental Health Task Force team. If you or someone you know needs to speak to someone today – give this number a call.

mental health task force #

We encourage you to share these steps with your friends and family. If there is someone in your circle that could use help, put these steps into practice. You can be part of making a difference in our Wayne County community.

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 on our website, in the Family Connection column of the Press-Sentinel and be given a special shoutout to all our collaborative members!

Join our Collaborative Team

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in our community to be a part of our group.  For more information, contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150.  Our meetings are the 4th Monday of each month with the next one being this upcoming Monday (10/26) at 9:30am. Visit our Family Connection tab if you have questions.

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 familyconnection@waynehelp.com.  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!

Wayne County Schools educate students on suicide awareness

wayne county suicide prevention

115 Columbia Suicide Rating Scales were completed on students who were referred to the Counseling Department this past school year. As a result of the rating scale evaluations, 31 students were hospitalized for further evaluation. Over 150 students were referred to outside counseling services for ongoing treatment. 

As we near the end of September, Wayne County High School Crisis Counselor, JoAnne Roach, and School Psychologist, Kori LeFree, created a way for students to get involved and learn more about Suicide Prevention month. 

With the recent pandemic, mental health conditions continue to rise in this unprecedented time. They saw this as the perfect opportunity to spread suicide awareness and prevention at Wayne County High School as well as both Wayne County middle schools. 

Wayne County High School holds ‘Buzz Block’ for students

On Friday, September 11th, Wayne County High School had a ‘Buzz Block’. It featured the #BeThe1To campaign that we’ve been talking about in our previous articles this month. The #BeThe1To is a national campaign. It helps spread the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide and be more aware of harmful behavior.

JoAnne Roach states, “We are aware this is a very sensitive subject that often times everyone is not comfortable talking about. To ease the process, we created a brief statement for each teacher to read and provided them with some simple uplifting activities for the students to complete.”  She also noted that the counselors were available throughout the event if the teacher noticed a student becoming upset or needs to speak with someone privately. 

WCHS students create suicide awareness videos

Another area that Mrs. Roach and Mrs. LeFree wanted to focus on were prevention efforts. Last year, high school students created videos that helped bring awareness to suicide. One video shows a friend reaching out to someone who is struggling. As the troubled teenager contemplates taking his life, his phone buzzes with his friend asking him how he is doing. The video states, “Everybody needs somebody to be there for them. You could be that someone.” To watch this video and more, scroll down to the bottom of the article.

Lastly, the counselors wanted people trained about this topic. This is important because suicide takes the lives of many each and every year. In order to do that, Wayne County purchased a research based curriculums called Signs of Suicide to implement at each school. They will first train the staff and then offer virtual training to parents. The main takeaways from this curriculum are to acknowledge and act accordingly if you see signs of suicide. By being aware of the signs, you can provide resources and get students help. All 8th and 10th graders in Wayne County will go through an assessment and be discussing this topic in depth with counselors and psychologists.   

If you have any questions about the Buzz Block or the Signs of Suicide curriculum, you can contact Mrs. JoAnne Roach at the high school. Her number is (912) 427-1088 ext. 829. 

Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative sponsored this article. Its partnership with the Wayne County Board of Education allows us to bring awareness to the needs of the community.  If you would like to become a part of the Collaborative, please contact Lana Wright at 912-256-2150. You can also contact Lana for more information regarding our Mental Health Task Force.

View videos from the High School students below:

#BeThe1To – Follow Up

As we come to the end of discussing the 5 Steps in the #BeThe1To campaign, we can only hope that our articles have made an impact in our community. Last week, we talked about the importance of helping people connect. Connecting with resources in their community ensures they get the help they need. For this last week, we will consider the ways one can follow up. Following up with a person can provide a further feeling of being connected.

steps in the #BeThe1To campaign
Visit the #BeThe1To Website

The follow up step is similar to the principle of being there because all the steps are interconnected. It’s challenging to be there for someone especially during a physically distanced time like we are currently in. After forming a good relationship with them, establishing a regular schedule to check in on them would keep you connected while also keeping them safe.

The first piece of advice is to purposefully set aside a time and date that you will follow up. This can provide them something to look forward to and send a message that you care. You could also send a Thank You postcard in part of the #BeThe1To Say Thank You campaign. Go to bethe1to.com and click on the Stories tab. You will find the ‘#BeThe1To Say Thanks’ highlighted in blue to follow up with someone. Thank them for their vulnerability in speaking with you about their current challenges.

Distractions can cause disinterest.

The next piece of advice would be to make sure you clear your calendar of all distraction for that time – maybe even put your phone away. If the follow up happens to be over the phone or video, just make sure that you are present so you can focus on your conversation with the person instead of other things that will cause them to think you don’t have their best intentions.

ways to follow up with someone after crisis

Never under estimate the value of showing up and checking in.

We also like to remind you of the great resource that we would highly recommend to Wayne County. It is our online resource directory located on our website. Go to www.waynehelp.com. Click on Resource Directory to find a group, organization, or a number to call today of your interest. Get involved to have the opportunity to follow up with someone in the future and make a difference in their life!

Become a part of Wayne County Family Connection

Additionally, the Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in 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. The upcoming meeting will be next week at 9:30am. Our website is www.waynehelp.com and our email is familyconnection@waynehelp.com if you have questions.

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, call the number below to speak with a professional in Wayne County.

Mental Health Task Force # for Wayne County: 

Business Hours 9am-5pm: 912-530-8889

After Hours: 912-256-2150

As always, if you see warning signs of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 911.

Check back with us next week for a recap of what the Wayne County schools have done in effort of September being #SuicidePrevention Month!

#BeThe1To Help Them Connect

We are coming to the end of discussing the 5 Steps in the #BeThe1To campaign with the 4th step this week. Last week we talked about the importance of keeping them safe. This week, we will give you a few ways of how to help someone connect with resources in the community to get the assistance they need.

Ways to Help Someone Connect

Helping someone connect with ongoing supports like groups, organizations, or our Mental Health Task Force number (912-530-8889) can help them establish a safety net for those moments they find themselves in a crisis. Additional components of a safety net will give them resources in their communities they can know and trust. If you feel comfortable enough, explore some of these possible supports with them. Some questions you could ask are:

–     Are you currently seeing a mental health professional? 

–     Have you seen one in the past? Is this an option for you currently? 

–     Would you like to participate in any groups that focus on what you are struggling with?

–     How would you feel about psychotherapy or being a part of a clinical trial?

Then, it’s important to help them find mental health resources in the community that can effectively fulfill the help they are requesting.

One way to start helping them find ways to connect is to work with them to develop a safety plan. Having a safety plan in place includes a list of individuals to contact. With the world being so digital today, there are plenty of online resources as well as apps on your mobile devices that can help. The My3 app is a safety planning and crisis intervention app that can help develop these supports and is stored conveniently on your smartphone for quick access.

Another great resource that we would highly recommend is our online resource directory on our website. Go to www.waynehelp.com > Click on Resource Directory to find many different resources right here in Wayne County! Find a group, organization, or a number to call today so that they can get the help they deserve.

Join the #BeThe1To Movement

You can also go to www.bethe1to.com/join and download a #BeThe1To poster. Help people connect and bring awareness to Suicide Prevention Month by printing them out and hanging them in your communities. We can all take action in one way or another and sometimes something small like hanging up a poster can be big in helping someone through their day.

The Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in 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. Our website is www.waynehelp.com and our email is familyconnection@waynehelp.com.

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, call the number below to speak with a professional in Wayne County.

Mental Health Task Force # for Wayne County: 

Business Hours 9am-5pm: 912-530-8889

After Hours: 912-256-2150

As always, if you see warning signs of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 911.

Also, 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. We have another meeting coming up on Monday, September 28th!

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In addition, please like and share. We’d love for these articles to reach everyone in the Wayne County Community!

#BeThe1To – Keep Them Safe

Last week, we discussed the importance of being there for someone in need. This week, we are discussing ways to keep them safe while they are going through this hard time in their life. So, you’ve asked them questions and you let them know you are there for them. Now it’s important to find out a few things to establish immediate safety if needed. Questions such as, “Have they already done something that could be harmful?” or “Do they know of something that might happen?” would be great to know so that you can take precautionary measures.

Their answers to your questions will help you.

Next, the answers to questions you may have asked can tell you the severity of the situation. For example, you found out that the person has immediate access to a firearm. This is very serious and should be treated like so. Extra steps (like calling the authorities) would be necessary. Another example would be if someone has been depressed and talking about how they want to get out and volunteer to feel less lonely. You could offer to drive them to a place in town where they can use their skills to help others.

Always be sure to check in on them and make sure you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

One effective solution that Wayne County high schools students have been using is the StopIt app. It is a simple, fast, and most importantly anonymous way to report problems. You can use the mobile app, web or hotline number. This communication would be between a person and an administrator in real-time. If needed, they could turn it over to emergency services.

There are also ways to personally keep yourself safe as well as others. An app that has been highly recommended is the Circle of 6 app. You pick six friends or family members to be in your circle. They can be notified if you’d like them to text or call you at a certain time. It even has a danger button that be activated to reach hotline numbers in situations such as domestic abuse.

Follow these guidelines to help keep your community safe:

  • Don’t leave a person alone in a lethal situation
  • Check for signs of drug or alcohol overdose
  • If it’s an emergency, call 911 and notify a family member or friend
  • Get help from a trained professional
  • Make sure they have numbers to call/hotlines if they have talked or behaved in a manner that makes you believe they may put themselves in danger

Your intervention may help the person see that other options are available to stay safe and get help. Follow us on social media to keep up with events, volunteer opportunities, meetings, and other news at wcfamilyconnect on Instagram and Family Connection – Wayne County, GA on Facebook!

Become a part of Family Connection

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. Our meetings are held on the 4th Monday of each month. Browse the rest of our website to learn more & connect with us if you have any questions.

If you or someone you know is struggling today, call the Mental Health Task Force # for Wayne County to speak with a professional: 

Business Hours 9am-5pm: 912-530-8889

After Hours: 912-256-2150

If you see warning signs of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 911.

Also, 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.

Facebook

Instagram

In addition, please like and share. We’d love for these articles to reach everyone in the Wayne County Community!

Training That Can Impact Your Community

connections matter training

Hosted by: Share Health Southeast Georgia and the Wayne County Substance Abuse Coalition

TRAINING DETAILS

WHEN: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 — 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

WHERE: TBD – if virtual you will receive a zoom link by email 2 weeks in advance


CONTACT: Addison Mickens – amickens@sharehealthsega.org


REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND
Click here to register!

What is Connections Matter?

Connections Matter is designed to engage community members in building caring connections to improve resiliency. The Connections Matter Georgia initiative is a collaboration with Prevent Child Abuse Georgia and the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy.

Why Attend the Training?

• Interactive, discussion-based curriculum and better understanding of trauma, brain development, resilience, and health
• Concrete knowledge about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
• Action planning and next steps for how you can make a difference
• Resources on trauma-informed care and implementation
• Strategies for increasing and improving your own connections and tools for strengthening both personal and community resilience
• Meeting other community members and building your network

Who Should Attend?

• Parents
• Community Members
• Childcare/Family SupportProfessionals
• Non-Profit Professionals
• Medical/Human ServicesProviders
• Faith Organizations

georgia child advocacy
georgia child abuse

Click here to register now!

#BeThe1To Be There

Be The 1 To

The next step in our campaign consists of a simple way to show those around you that you care. We are going to be there for them during this hard time. By simply being there for them, either physically, through a phone call, text, or a special little written note, etc., you are showing your support to their need. An important aspect of this step is to make sure you follow through with what you said you were going to do. If you support the person, make sure that they know what it is you are doing. It can be easy for them to feel alone, pushed away, vulnerable, or that nobody cares.

Don’t commit if you aren’t 100% sure you can fulfill the duty.

It’s important that you don’t commit to anything you are not willing or able to accomplish. There also may come a time when you aren’t able to be there for somebody that is asking for help. One way you can still be involved is talking with them to develop some ideas for others who might be able to help. This shows them that you can help them in a different way than being physically there.

Make sure you’re still listening.

Although we are talking about how to be there for someone, listening is still just as important as it was when we discussed #BeThe1To Ask previously. Find out what and who they believe will be the most effective sources of help. Then, you can come up with a plan of how to make those sources available to the person without putting a burden on them.

Being there for someone with thoughts of suicide or any kind of need can be life-saving. They desire for a need to feel connected to someone. They may even try to be involved more to make their problems seem less daunting while they get the help they need. By limiting their time spent alone, you have the opportunity to protect them from causing harm to themselves or others.

Be There

Check out this story from Savannah Lloyd. She wrote it in hopes that it can help others. In an article titled “To The People I Met on my Mental Health Journey” she writes, “Thank you for passing the tissues when it was all too much and my eyes finally poured the tears I tried so hard to hold back.” We would be naive to think there aren’t people in Wayne County that need some tissues as well. By Being There, we have a chance to alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes with making life altering decisions in significant situations.

Be a part of Family Connection

The Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in 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. Browse the rest of our website to learn more & connect with us if you have any questions.

Mental Health Task Force # for Wayne County: 

Business Hours 9am-5pm: 912-530-8889

After Hours: 912-256-2150

If you see warning signs of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 911. 

Article Source: bethe1to.com/stories

Also, 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.

In addition, please like and share. We’d love for these article to reach everyone in the Wayne County Community!

#BeThe1To Ask

One of the hardest things to do is admit you have a problem. However, in a crucial situation like suicide, it could be the difference between life or death. How will a person ever be able to admit they have a problem if they are never asked about it in the first place? This isn’t something we can sweep under the rug. 

That’s why our first step may be the most important – Ask. Why ask? It shows the person that you are open to talking about their problems, you are ready to acknowledge their pain alongside them, care, be supportive and also listen with a non-judgmental approach. Questions like “Have you felt yourself feeling more depressed lately?” or “Have you thought about hurting yourself?” can open the door for the kind of relationship they have been longing for. It’s important to take their answers seriously, be attentive, provide your feedback and help them determine what next steps need to be taken to move forward from this heavy burden. 

Another important tactic when having a conversation with someone who needs help is listening. Make note of any potential reasons they may have mentioned for wanting to stay alive. If so, it’s really useful to bring those back up and focus on those important aspects to stabilize their state of mind. 

Ask them about their behaviors as well. This could give you a good idea of how severe the situation is (even though even passive thoughts of suicide are in need of equal addressing). This could be anything from making jokes about suicide (I’d be better off dead, I’m going to jump off a cliff), no interaction with friends, giving away important possessions, saying final goodbyes or going as far as seeking out means to take action about how they are feeling (buying a gun, visiting dangerous locations, substances).

Underestimating the need for suicide prevention is disastrous.

We may think it will never happen to us or a friend or a relative, until you are wrong and not prepared. We need to take the time now to bring awareness to mental health. We are living in a troubled world, now more than ever. Sandhya Raman from Roll Call says that economic and social pressures due to COVID-19 have greatly affected the number of recent suicide rates. By creating a ‘come together’ mentality against these troubling times in our communities, we can help prevent a great deal of suffering and save more lives.

Don’t know how to help? There are plenty of ways to show your support to a friend who may be struggling.

  • Call a friend to check up on them (yes, it means a lot!)
  • Invite them over for a barbeque and game night
  • Create a music playlist for someone when they need a pick-me-up
  • Remind them of some funny or happy memories you share together

Anything that shows them you are happy and thankful they are in your life. It could mean all the difference to them!

The Wayne County Family Connection Collaborative would like to invite anyone in 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. Our website is www.waynehelp.com and our email is familyconnection@waynehelp.com.

Mental Health Task Force # for Wayne County: 

Business Hours 9am-5pm: 912-530-8889

After Hours: 912-256-2150

If you see warning signs of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 911. 

Also, 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.

Interested in Head Start or Pre-K?

By Lynn Robinson

(Editor’s note: Lynn Robinson is the family services worker for Wayne County Head Start & Pre-K, a service provided by the Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority.)

Will your child be 3 or 4 on or before Sept. 1? Immunizations current? Proof of income for the last 12 months (W-2 or three consecutive recent pay stubs, SSI, SSA, child support, or other)? No income?

We have paperwork for you to use to complete the enrollment process. Come to Wayne County Head Start and Pre-K.

This federally funded national program provides comprehensive child developmental services to children. Head Start works with other community agencies and contract professionals to provide a program with health, nutritional, educational, and social services. Just as in traditional educational facilities, your child’s attendance really matters. Children can’t learn if they do not attend.

You, as a parent, are a big part of the process. Parents can become fully involved in the development of their child through our policy council, center committees, classroom volunteers and many other avenues. There are monthly parent meetings covering various subjects, including cooking, budgeting, child development, health resources and much more. There are monthly activities for fathers and other family members such as kite building, flower planting, bubble blowing and more to encourage the relationship between the parent and the child.

What are some of the rewards? Children will gain skills that will assist them when entering public school. As a parent, you will gain skills and develop resources to help you to encourage further development in your child. Because family and family members participate in the process, children will understand that education is valuable and that their families want them to be successful.

So what’s next? To apply for Head Start (and Pre-K), you will need the child’s birth certificate, proof of income (last 12 months or calendar year), and a Georgia immunization certificate (Form No. 3231). Please be ready to supply the Social Security number, the child’s most recent physical exam and dental exam, and a medical insurance document. Pre-K placement requires additional documents, including residency information, a 3300 form and a Pre-K enrollment form.

Once you have submitted all of the information, if your child is determined to be eligible for the program, your child will be placed on a priority list based on information from your application. The points are arranged from highest to lowest. Selection is not done on a first-come, first-served basis. The list is constantly changing as each new application is taken. The process is easy and the rewards are great!

More information?  Please contact 427-4527, or visit Wayne County Head Start and Pre-K at 724 N. Fourth St. in Jesup. See you soon!

Growing better together

By Rachel Autry

(Editor’s note: Rachel Autry is the advocacy and recruitment coordinator for Tri-County CASA.)

This month, April, is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a month dedicated to taking notice of—and working to change—a large problem in our communities.

Child abuse can be sexual, physical, emotional or mental, and in some cases, a victim will experience more than one kind of abuse. Child abuse often goes hand-in-hand with child neglect, and neither crime is limited to a “certain part” of the population.

It’s a problem that transcends racial boundaries—with Caucasian children slightly more likely to be victims than African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American children. Contrary to popular perception, children from middle-class families are more likely to be abused than their poor and extremely poor neighbors. Sadly, it is children 2 years of age and under who experience abuse the most of all age groups, and special-needs children are abused at a higher rate than non-special-needs children.

Abuse and its frequent partner, neglect, have life-long consequences for their victims. Child victims of abuse and neglect have a lower chance of graduating from high school, will have trouble getting or keeping a well-paying job, and often have trouble socially. These children are more likely to become victims of other crimes and to die from overdose of drugs or alcohol. They’re also more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and cancer, tending to have more health problems in general throughout their lives.

But abuse can be prevented. Children grow in communities, and communities can play a large part in creating strong, resilient families and safe, happy children. Children in safe and loving homes are not only more resilient to adversity but are also able to recover from past traumas. When the community creates resources for those having trouble with finances, education, housing or health, it not only helps to lower the rate of child abuse but also helps victims excel in life. Those who become foster or adoptive parents or volunteer with organizations such as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs also help child abuse victims.

Georgia has a hotline for supportive family resources at 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373), as well as an interactive resource map on the Prevent Child Abuse Georgia website. You can learn more about our local CASA program at tri-countycasainc.org or on our  Facebook page at Tri-County CASA, Inc., GA. Georgia’s Child Abuse Reporting hotline is 1-855-422-4453.

All this month, let’s sow seeds of change so we can grow a better tomorrow together!

COVID-19 Crisis Has Exacerbated Lack of Access…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2020

COVID-19 Crisis Has Exacerbated Lack of Access to Health Care and Housing Insecurity for Vulnerable Families and Children in Georgia

Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey results show how families in Georgia are coping during the coronavirus pandemic—data reveal food, income, and housing insecurity; mental health concerns; and a lack of access to health care

ATLANTA—Georgia has the highest percentage in the nation of families with children concerned about losing their housing in the next month due to income loss from the pandemic, according to Kids, Families, and COVID-19: Pandemic Pain Points and the Urgent Need to Respond, a report developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report, released today, provides data on how families in all 50 states are faring during the COVID-19 crisis.

More than half of adults with children in Georgia—58%—reported that they’re concerned about eviction or foreclosure due to pandemic-related income loss, with half of Georgia’s adults with children reporting that they have lost income since the beginning of the pandemic. The report also reveals that Georgia has the second-highest rate of adults who have children in their households who lack health insurance, at 19%—compared to the national average of 12%. Access to health care is always critical, but especially so during the current health crisis.

The report is generated from data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, a weekly survey of Americans seeking to understand how families have been managing in the midst of the pandemic for the past nine months. The data show that families across Georgia and the nation are struggling on multiple fronts, with Georgians reporting high economic insecurity, which includes housing and food. For example, 16% of adults with children in Georgia reported that they sometimes or often did not have enough food to eat in the past week, exceeding the national average of 14%.

“The number of families going hungry in Georgia right now is unprecedented—higher than we have ever seen,” said Georgia Food Bank Association Executive Director Danah Craft. “Georgia’s food banks are responding to a 50% increase in demand that surged in March and continues today. Kids who are food insecure are more likely to have poor health overall, getting sicker more often and needing more care. Adults who don’t have the food they need are more likely to miss work and have a difficult time holding down a job, compounding the crisis. We’re the final backstop to keep families from falling into complete crisis, and additional support for children and families in Georgia is vital.”

The pandemic is disproportionately hurting families of color. Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino adults with children reported food insecurity at twice the rate of white Georgians, and were significantly more likely to be concerned that they would not be able to afford usual household expenses.

“Every child in the United States should have the basics, and families should have support to survive the considerable stress and pain of these times,” said Lisa Hamilton, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Our leaders can respond to the COVID-19 crisis by putting equity first, prioritizing children’s physical and mental health, helping families achieve financial stability, and strengthening schools so kids can thrive in spite of the extraordinary times.”

The data also show the mental health toll caused by the pandemic, with more than 30% of adults with children in Georgia reporting they’ve experienced anxiety in the past week, and more than 20% reporting feeling down, depressed, or hopeless in the past week.

“The pandemic has increased the rates of many determinants of mental health conditions, such as isolation, poverty, and lacking sense of security,” said Kim Jones, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Georgia chapter. “Due to this, the data show that mental health issues will be our next pandemic. In 2020, Georgia ranked 51st in access to mental health. We must do better as a state and make mental health a priority when addressing the health of Georgia’s children.”

One positive trend in Georgia is that, compared with several months ago, access to devices for digital learning for children has improved across race and ethnicity. In July, 76% of Black or African American students had access to devices for digital learning, but by September, that rate had risen to 95%. On average, Georgia’s device access increased from 80% in July to 94% in September, exceeding the national average of 93%.

Still, Georgia is either in line with national averages or worse than the national average for the majority of data points, indicating the urgent need for support for this state’s children and families. The data paint a clear picture that Georgia’s families need help across income, housing, health care, food, and several other key areas.

Overall, the data underline the desperate need for state and federal help to ensure that Georgians can make it through the pandemic, not only with their health, but without falling into poverty, starvation, and homelessness.

Given the level of need and struggle the data reveal in the report, here are recommendations for decisionmakers to consider on behalf of children and families as we move into 2021:

  • Use data disaggregated by race and ethnicity to inform decision-making. Understanding which communities have been hit hardest by the pandemic—along with sprawling side effects—will help determine where support is needed most.

  • Work with communities to craft local solutions to their urgent needs, and include their input about their own struggles and needs as decisions are made about how best to support Georgians during this critical time.

  • Prioritize both physical and mental health. Widely distributing a vaccine to all Georgians is critical, just as is supporting those struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. In a school setting, ensuring an adequate counselor-to-student ratio could help alleviate mental health struggles in children.

  • The economic toll of the pandemic on children and families is severe. Georgia families need help with employment, housing, food security, physical and mental health care access, and other issues. Decisionmakers across sectors must provide strategies for economic relief that will keep people in their homes, keep food on the table, and allow people to get the care they need.

  • Schools have been asked to shoulder an enormous lift during the pandemic. Ensuring that schools have the funding and resources they need to support their communities amid ongoing uncertainty is paramount. Furthermore, schools located in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic will need additional supports.

“We knew the pandemic would have dangerous and far-reaching effects on children and families,” said Gaye Smith, executive director of Georgia Family Connection Partnership, Georgia’s KIDS COUNT grantee. “Having these data help us better understand those effects so we can develop a response that will help our most vulnerable Georgians weather this storm in the moment, then position themselves to succeed in the new environment we’ll all find ourselves in on the other side of this crisis.”

Contact: Bill Valladares
william@gafcp.org
404-739-0043

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