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ASH Volunteer Group Advocates for Mental Health AwarenessDate: 09/05/2019
Jane Mckinnie surveyed the stock of items stacked on the table at the Arkansas State Hospital (ASH). She carefully counted out new socks, tubes of toothpaste, deodorant, soap, and other toiletries -- the makings of patient care packages -- to offer something personal to those being treated at the hospital.
Mckinnie is part of the ASH Volunteer Auxiliary. She enjoys regular opportunities like this to do acts of kindness for the people of Arkansas’s only state-run psychiatric facility, offering those patients a connection to the community while they are receiving treatment.
“There will always be a place in my heart for ASH,” she said.
A few of the auxiliary’s activities include making care packages for patients, along with hosting a patient art show, a benefit rummage sale, and mental health-related lunch and learns.
“We assist with the rehabilitation of the patients,” Mckinnie said. “I joined the auxiliary because I have friends and loved ones who battle mental illness. Also, I enjoy volunteering for a cause that I’m passionate about.”
The auxiliary currently has 33 members. Some are ASH staff and others are volunteers from the community. In fact, some of the volunteers used to work at the hospital. Mckinnie is one of those people. She was once a licensed practical nurse at ASH.
Over the years, because she’s an advocate for mental health, Mckinnie has continued to support the hospital.
“If I can help ASH by volunteering with the auxiliary and helping one person end their struggles with mental illness, or keep them from being misunderstood, I will always do just that,” she said. “The importance of mental health is something that we should all be aware of, and ASH is a great place to get involved in promoting mental health for Arkansans by being a part of the auxiliary.”
The volunteer auxiliary meets monthly at ASH. If you’re interested in joining the group, contact Stan Dobson at email@example.com.
For more information about the hospital, go to https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/daabhs/behavioral-health-services/arkansas-state-hospital.