New wellness center opens

The CenterPoint Stokes County Wellness Center recently held an open house at its new facility in the Autumn Square complex on Hwy. 8. Pictured are Community Operations Manager Stacey Inman, Peer Support Specialist Stephen Prevot, RHA Health Services Peer Supervisor Keshia Sandidge.

Stokes County residents in need of help have a new place to turn to.

CenterPoint Human Services recently opened a new wellness center in the Autumn Square complex located at 3169 Hwy. 8.

The new facility is designed to provide on-site mental health and substance abuse services in Stokes County, but Community Operations Manager Stacey Inman said the facility will grow to offer much more for the community.

“It is not just mental health and substance abuse, it is mental, it is spiritual, social, and physical,” she said. “We are starting with peer counseling, but we are asking the community what it wants. We are taking suggestions and then will start programming and the sky’s the limit.”

“CenterPoint is creating these wellness centers in the counties we serve,” said Consumer and Community Affairs Manger Penny Castro. “We are shaping activities at each location to suit the needs of the community they are located in. They are working on some programs related to whole health that will address both the well being of the body as well as the mind.”

The new center is using a Health Integration Peer Program (HIPP), a special program designed by CenterPoint to address nutrition, chronic health conditions and other physical issues which can impact mental health.

“We teach people things like how to read food labels, how to shop on a budget for nutritional food, how to talk to providers more effectively and how to ask questions to better understand medications,” said Castro. “There is even a chapter on the importance of being connected to your community and finding social support because no one needs to deal with problems in isolation.”

The new center is also using a peer-support program to allow customers the opportunity to talk to other people who have succeeded in dealing with similar problems.

“A peer support specialist is a person who has a lived experience with mental health or substance abuse and have been able to achieve recovery,” said Castro. “They have been trained to work with people by using their own experiences in a way that can enlighten the other person. they have been in the same position as the person they are trying to help.”

The center will also help customers with developing a wellness recovery action plan which will teach patients how to be aware of what triggers them to experience symptoms.

“One of the goals is for the facility to also be a resource center,” said Castro. “Right now they are in the early stages of learning more about the area and learning what resources and supports already exist but may not be as well known as you would like. They will have computer access so customers can people can come and look at the web, and they are developing a resource library.”

Castro noted that the center is open to any suggestions the community may have for what it can offer to help mental illness in Stokes County.

“It is an ongoing effort to get input as to what is truly needed in this area,” she said. “We are trying to get out there an inform people and be a part of the community. That has been difficult to do from one central location in Winston-Salem. Now for the first time we will be able to learn things from within the community and be aware of events we should be participating in.

“We are in the early stages of development, so now is the perfect time for us to receive information about what the community wants and needs,” she added. “CenterPoint is putting a significant investment of time and people into this and they are very committed to make sure we are in the community and able to offer services and information and participate in fun and educational activities.”

The new wellness center is open on Tuesday’s and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 5.p.m and on Fridays from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. For more information call 1-888-581-988.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

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