A small but highly engaged audience enjoyed  a presentation from two outstanding local women last night at the Community Center. Belle Nicholas, originally from West Deptford, is working toward her Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology, is an instructor in Mental Health First Aid, and hosts her own podcast, Shout Our Struggle, an educational tool to teach listeners about resources, coping skills and more through survivor’s stories of lived experience. Haley Marks is a lifetime Wenonah resident and a pre-law student. Both women are contestants for the title of Miss New Jersey and both share a passionate and informed interest in mental health and suicide prevention.

Key points from the evening:

  1. It’s ok to talk about it and it’s good to start early with kids so they know it’s ok.
  2. Start close to home, reach out to others.
  3. Check-in with friends and neighbors.
  4. There are resources available. New Jersey mandates that every county provide at least one designated Mental Health Urgent Care Center. ACENDA is the local provider with locations in Sewell, Woodbury, Glassboro, and Mullica Hill. Anyone in crisis can call or walk-in and receive immediate support from an experienced clinician. 
  5. Dial 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. IMPORTANT: No problem is too small to call. Available 24/7. Call or text 988 OR Chat 988lifeline.org/chat. This is different from 911 emergency dispatch as it is set up specifically to address mental health crises. 
  6. There is a way through.
  7. Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid courses can be valuable to all members of the community and MWC hopes to bring that opportunity to anyone interested in gaining skills that could help a neighbor, friend, or family member who is struggling. NOTE: This course can also be valuable in developing one’s own coping skills.

Thank you to Belle Nicholas and Haley Marks for leading such a meaningful discussion. We are grateful for your dedication to the community, and look forward to working with you throughout the year to support our residents in wellness.