LOCAL FOLKS: Dalton lends help to those with mental illness

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – The ups and downs of daily life seem to intensify during the holidays for people struggling with depression, bipolar disorder and other types of mental illness.
Throughout the year, though, Sherry Dalton works with others at Our Resource Center to provide a place where people diagnosed with a mental illness can come for social interaction, games, learning and other support services.
The center is closely affiliated with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and holds a NAMI-facilitated weekly support group for families and a periodic Family-to-Family Course to give families of people with mental illness necessary coping skills.
“We’re a place where vulnerable adults can come for free to learn about computers, exercising, gardening, crafts and games,” said Dalton, the executive director. “We started out with the idea to give them a place for social interaction, but we’ve grown into so much more.”
Our Resource Center differs from the clubhouses offered through Region III and other regions of the state Department of Mental Health. The clients at Our Resource Center sometimes have a college education or professional training or are trying to attend college, but they may become overwhelmed by the pressures due to their illness.
“Mentally ill, stable adults should have a place to go,” she said. “So many are underprivileged, living from paycheck to paycheck, and this is a free service.”
Before it became Our Resource Center, the facility opened as The Brick House on Liddon Lake Road in 2006.
Dalton had an awareness of mental illness before then, but her desire to educate families, people with mental illness and the public about the risk of suicide and other related issues grew out of a family tragedy.
Her nephew, John Rickman, committed suicide in 2004. Dalton began a personal awareness campaign sponsoring billboards around Corinth in 2005 to help educate people about depression and suicide.
“I hate that it had to happen the way it did,” Dalton said. “When he died I had a business – a gift shop – and everybody who came through had somebody with a severe mental illness. The key is to educate people and that’s where it all starts. I’m grateful that God has given me the opportunity to help people, but I hate that my brother has to live without his child.”
She began her own awareness journey with a couple of books by Kay Redfield Jamison, “Night Falls Fast” and “An Unquiet Mind.”
She then joined NAMI and completed its training programs as a support group facilitator and instructor for the Family-to-Family Course.
And always, she’s seeking collaborative relationships with other organizations in the community to extend Our Resource Center’s efforts.
“There are other programs like Hope to Cope Ministries, Living Free and others throughout the community where recovering drug and alcohol addicts can go almost every night,” Dalton said. “Many of them become users as a way to cope with mental illness and these faith-based programs help a lot. I know I could do nothing that I do without the opportunities God has given me.”
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Our Resource Center
– What: A day support/drop-in program that provides recreational, social and educational opportunities for people living with mental disorders such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessivecompulsive disorder and others.
– Where: 710 Bradley Road, Corinth
– When: Open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday
– Sponsors: Mississippi Department of Mental Illness, United Way of Corinth and Alcorn County, City of Corinth, Alcorn County Board of Supervisors, Eli Lilly Drug Co., CREATE Foundation, CARE Foundation, Dobbins and Mitchell CPA and private donors
– Information: (662) 286-6679 or www.ourresourcecenter.org

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