BSAN Meeting Minutes May 2017

BSAN Meeting Minutes, Friday May 19th, 2017

29 people were present at the Collett Street Recreation Center in Morganton, NC on Friday, May, 19th, 2017 for this 7:30am breakfast meeting.

BSAN member Charles Mosely offered the invocation.

Joe Marks, Executive Director at Burke Recovery, welcomed the group and requested updates from the group.


Community Forum

Cathy Pritchard, Assistant Health Director for the Burke County Health Department shared that the Community Forum held on May 18th at New Day Christian Church was a great success. Approximately 60 community members of Burke County participated in the forum showcased a panel of experts including a citizen living successfully in recovery. Community members participated in dialogue and asked questions on how to effectively address mental health and substance use issues in our community and reduce the stigma associated with both.

Law Enforcement

Sheriff Steve Whisenant shared news that the RxEAP Task Force has secured an additional prescription drop box for the county, which will likely be placed on the eastern end of Burke County. The Sheriff shared that they funds have been requested in the upcoming fiscal year budget for disposal and incineration. Contracting with a private company for disposal would enable narcotics task force agents to allocate more time to enforcement efforts.

Burke Youth Health Coalition

Sarah Dergins, Prevention Specialist at Burke Recovery, updated the group regarding the Burke Youth Health Coalition. Three meetings have taken place so far and these new young members are getting very involved. The Youth Coalition is currently focusing on May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The students are making posters and hanging them at Heritage Middle School to help raise awareness. Sarah Dergins also informed the members of BSAN that we are looking for more students to join the coalition. The purpose of the Burke Youth Health Coalition is to bring the youth together to improve the health and wellness of the community.

Youth in Foster Care

Dorraine Hernandez, director for Burke County Department of Social Services (DSS), reported that the number of children in Burke County’s foster care system surpassed the number of children in foster care in the surrounding Catawba and Caldwell counties. As of May 19th, there were 250 children in care. She reports that many young children and toddlers are testing positive for substances (50 since January) due to exposure.

County Commissioner Updates

Burke County Commissioner Johnnie Carswell stressed how dire the foster care situation in Burke County is at present. He reports having to move an additional one million dollars into the budget for child protective services in order to serve the large amount of children in foster care. He also mentioned that Burke County does not have enough foster families at present. Mr. Carswell also shared a bill currently being proposed which would regionalize departments of social services across the state into 30 regional offices. He expressed concern over transportation issues if this bill is to pass.

A Caring Solution

Josh Singleton, health navigator for Burke Integrated Care and A Caring Alternative, shared that A Caring Alternative is starting a non-profit organization called A Caring Solution (ACS). The mission of A Caring Solution is to restore individuals who have experienced a life-changing event by promoting their well-being and self-sufficiency. A Luncheon for Wholeness will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Morganton on Thursday, June 1st at 12PM.

Catawba County Coalition Formation

Emily Killian, Community Engagement Specialist for Catawba County Public Health is working to start a coalition in Catawba County to address substance use disorder prevention and recovery. Emily shared that she will have demographic data on overdose deaths and hospitalizations available to share in August. She also shared that a regional health department group will be meeting in early to mid June to share a uniform prevention message around substance use.

May Mental Health Awareness Activities

Carol Ervin, Director of Behavioral Healthcare Services for Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge, echoed Ms. Pritchard’s sentiments that the community health forum was a success. She shared that she will be traveling to Raleigh to participate in the North Carolina Hospital Association’s Advocacy Day on May 23rd, where she will meet with legislators to share the work being done in Burke County. Ms. Ervin also reminded the group of the remaining events occurring in May for mental health awareness month.

Rally for Recovery

Joe Marks spoke on the importance of reducing stigma and shining a light on recovery. He reminded the group that the 2nd Annual Burke Rally for Recovery will take place on September 16th at the Courthouse Square in Morganton.

Featured Presentation: Spiritual Space Support Group

Broughton Hospital Chaplains Ernie Bartley and William Robertson along side of licensed recreational therapist Katharine Wright and licensed recreational therapist assistant Heather Church shared the success they have had in starting the Spiritual Space Support Group for patients at Broughton Hospital.

The Spiritual Space Support Group is an interfaith group designed to allow participants to express and address how their beliefs, convictions, and emotions affect their recovery process. Issues such as anger, anxiety, fear, depression, and coping with the diagnosis of mental illness are some of the topics discussed within this group.

Through recreational therapy interventions participants challenge their own spiritual growth to find strength and healing, while identifying possible stereotypes or misconceptions that may affect their recovery such as guilt, shame, forgiveness, acceptance, or embarrassment.

This group is non-denominational and welcomes individuals of all belief systems who wish to incorporate spirituality into their recovery. At present, a group like the Spiritual Space Support group is not available in Burke County. In response, the four group facilitators at Broughton Hospital have volunteered to offer this group one night a month in the community as a pilot program. They are currently looking for a place to hold the meeting and the best way to engage members of the recovery community who may be interested.

Julie Causby, board member of Burke Integrated Health (BIH), stated that she will explore holding the Spiritual Space Support Group meeting at BIH, and targeting some of their clients who may be interested.

June BSAN Meeting

Next month’s BSAN meeting will be held at 7:30am on Friday, June 30th, 2017 at the Collett Street Recreation Center in Morganton.



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