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, firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-256-2150.