Change is in the air! There is nothing more certain in springtime than change, and I am inspired by the growth and beauty I see emerging all around me. Of course, the fresh flowers and longer sunlight are uplifting, but along with it, I am seeing some wonderful things coming forward, including energy and attention on mental health issues and services.
The first development I want to tell you about is our connection to GOAL Justice, a diverse collection of congregations that are working to make Greenville a more just place to live, work, and do business. Their current justice goals are around mental health and housing. On March 28th, I had the privilege of attending GOAL Justice’s Nehemiah Action Rally around these two important issues. When so much of our work takes place in the quiet corners of our phone room, it was transformative to be among 1500 people gathered in joyful support of mental health and funding for our 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Action was central to the name of this event and to what took place there. People shared hard, personal stories that underscored how a well-supported 988 line is sorely needed, and attendees contacted their legislators to advocate for MHAGC’s 988 call center.
Our friends at the Well-Being Partnership of Greenville are also reaching out to SC House members representing Greenville to advocate for full funding to staff MHAGC’s call center. We thank them for their partnership! Whether you’re part of a partner group or an individual who cares deeply about crisis response, everyone can do something. Start by taking a minute to read a recent national news article about the challenges facing MHAGC’s 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, specifically in-state answer rates that could be addressed with state funding. When you’re ready to contact your representatives, we’ve made it easy with a sample message and step-by-step instructions for sending your letter to your elected officials, no matter where you live in South Carolina.
Another development coming to fruition this month is WYFF4’s Chronicle segment, State of Mind. Jane Robelot and her team spent two months working on this segment, with an air date of April 7th, at 8 pm. Jane and her team spoke about the challenges of mental health care with NAMI Greenville, Fleur De Lis Speaks, Walt’s Waltz, and our very own MHAGC, which included a look into our state’s only operational 988 line here in Greenville since the launch of 988 last summer. In case you don’t catch the segment live, we’ll post the link on our In the News page once it airs.
Finally, we are celebrating two important teams that make crisis response work in our state. SC’s Governor issued a proclamation designating the week of April 9-15, 2023, Public Safety Telecommunications Week. Our 911 dispatch partners have collaborated with us from before the 988 roll-out last summer and work hard to understand the needs of our callers. The other team we’re celebrating this month is our volunteers! April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and we know how lucky we are to have such dedicated, caring volunteers supporting MHAGC’s work. Thanks to all who help MHAGC provide critical mental health services to our community and state.
In closing, I hope that each of you is enjoying the start of spring and seeing good change in your world, too. Thanks for following along with MHAGC’s work! We’re glad you’re here.