Letters to the Editor

04/10 What You’re Saying: Will Sibert and Kim Batson, Sera Shaw, and Chris Deschene

Mental health conference Friday

We could recite a litany of horrifying substance abuse statistics – but ONE is the most compelling number. If ONE person you care about is affected by addiction and/or mental health issues, that is ONE person too many.

“Cultivating Mental Health: Hope and Healing” is a day-long interfaith conference focusing on addiction, depression in the elderly, and opportunities for faith communities and mental health organizations to help those facing these challenges to find a path forward.

This is the eighth annual conference presented by Faith Connections on Mental Illness, an interfaith group that seeks to advise faith communities on how to care for and support families and individuals living with mental illness. The event will be held at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill on Friday, April 13, from 8 am to 4:15 p.m. Optional professional credits are available through Wake AHEC.

A line-up of noted experts in their fields include: 

▪ Jonathan Benz, author of “The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People With Addiction,” who will explore a clinical view of addiction while examining specific challenges and strengths that a spiritual worldview can bring to the subject.

▪ Dr. Paul Nagy, assistant professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University: “From Stigma to Science: Understanding and Helping Persons with Substance Use Disorders.”

▪ Dr. Dan Blazer, professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and professor of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University: “Depression in the Elderly.”

▪ Angela Whitenhill, mental health initiative manager for the National Benevolent Association: “Speaking into the Silence: Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness in Faith Communities.”

▪ Thava Mahadevan, director of UNC’s Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health: “Shop Local: Facing the Mental Health Challenges and Building Innovative Local Solutions.”

More information and the conference registration link can be found at www.faithconnectionsonmentalillness.org

Will Sibert and Kim Batson

Faith Connections on Mental Illness

Stanford patient and thorough

I just wanted to send a comment regarding the election in Orange County on May 8. We were living in Chapel Hill with our three children. Our youngest, whom we adopted from China, due to complicated law changes in China, needed to be re-adopted in North Carolina at the age of 9. It was a concerning prospect, and one that acted as though we were adopting her for the first time.

We were very nervous about the whole thing, but Jamie Stanford helped us through the entire adoption process with patience and thoroughness. This was, I am sure, a very minor part of his job, but one he handled with aplomb.

He has an understanding of all the people who reside in Orange County, not just the elite segment.

I am voting for him again, and I hope people read his record and vote for him too. I think Mark Kleinschmidt’s record speaks for itself and anyone taking a drive around Chapel HIll can see that.

Chris Deschene

Chapel Hill

The Outer Banks needs bridge

Would you rather be stuck in traffic or basking on the beach? I am a current sophomore at Woods Charter School. Growing up visiting the beach every summer, my family and I have mastered the typical stuck-in-traffic games such as eye spy, and the alphabet game.

In recent years though, we have noticed a major rise in travel time, as traffic has considerably increased. Not only does this escalation deter tourists, but it also poses a great threat to native islanders if there were an emergency evacuation. The construction of the seven-mile Mid-Currituck Bridge would not only aid both of these challenges, but would also prevent excessive car fumes from releasing into Earth’s atmosphere; cars would no longer idle for hours on end.

This bridge is a necessary addition to the North Carolina coast for manifold reasons, all of which ensure that our coast can remain the safe and loved vacation destination it has been for so many families, like mine.

Sera Shaw

Chapel Hill

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