Stepping Up helps out at Mental Health Association

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 6, 2019

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Forsyth County’s Stepping Up Initiative spent its Day of Action on May 29 helping out at the Mental Health Association (MHA) in Forsyth County.

The Stepping Up Initiative includes Mental Health Court and the Stepping Up Process to End Recidivism (SUPER), which gives support services after release to women with mental health and substance use issues who were incarcerated in the county jail. Stepping Up staff and participants, along with Mental Health Association staff and Public Health administration, spent the morning at MHA’s Hawthorne Road headquarters planting flowers, cleaning windows and packing bags for Operation Santa Claus.

The national Stepping Up Initiative holds its Day of Action in May during Mental Health Awareness Month. Last year’s local Day of Action included an open house for the community and collections of donations for Green Tree Peer Center. This was the first year with a volunteer event. Stepping Up Program Supervisor Amber Humble said the women in the SUPER program wanted to give back.

“We do give a survey to all the ladies about the program and one of the highest rated activities they wanted to do was volunteer,” said Humble.

Stepping Up participant Yvette Boyd said she enjoyed volunteering and felt that it helped her, as well.

“I’m trying to focus on replacing bad habits with good habits,” said Boyd. “This is something I enjoy doing. I’m excited about doing better for myself. It motivates me to get up in the morning when I  have something to do”

MHA is a private, non-profit that provides an array of non-clinical, educational and supportive  mental health services including free support groups, informational and referral services, and Crisis Intervention Team training. MHA supports Stepping Up by participating in Mental Health Court, letting participants attend WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) classes for free, providing bus passes and giving participants bags of useful items as part of Operation Santa Claus. Andy Hagler, MHA executive director, is part of the Stepping Up Advisory Team and the Stakeholders Group.

Hagler said that when groups come in to volunteer, it gives him a chance to educate them about the services MHA offers. It also helps the small non-profit maintain its headquarters.

“Every little bit people can do helps,” said Hagler.