History of the Mental Health Association in Wayne County
In the summer of 1961 a group of Wayne County Citizens who were interested in providing services in the county for those with emotional problems met to organize the Mental Health Association in Wayne County (MHAWC). The Chapter was chartered in the fall of 1961, and Dr. A. H. Zealy, Jr. was elected as its first president in January 1962.
The initial goals of the Chapter were: to promote a public understanding and recognition of local mental health needs, to improve attitudes toward mental illness, and to formulate plans for a much needed Mental Health Clinic in Wayne County. The establishment of the Mental Health Clinic was encouraged largely by legislation motivated by Mental Health Association volunteers. After many months of study and planning, an office in the County Health Department became available. In November of 1963 a psychologist, a part-time psychiatrist and a secretary were employed to provide treatment for the emotionally ill. The Health Department Officer was named Mental Health Director in conjunction with his Health Department duties. Using a financial assistance program of the state, County Commissioners approved a budget for the year beginning July 1, 1963, of $25,400.
In 1963 the Mental Health Association in Wayne County became a member of the United Fund of Goldsboro and retains it membership to the present time in the United Way of Way County.
Even though the opening of the Wayne County Mental Health Clinic provided many needed services, there was still the demand to reach more people. Through the efforts of the Mental Health Association, the clinic staff moved from the Health Department Building to larger quarters in the Welfare building in January of 1964. However, space was still at a premium, and there was no room for expansion. Again, through the efforts of the Mental Health Association in Wayne County, more room was made possible by the opening of new quarters at 715 East Ash Street, (now 719 East Ash Street) in December 1964. This move climaxed three years of hard work by Mental Health Association volunteers. The new quarters had previously been a private home purchased by the county for $31,500. The Association continued to support the clinic financially and with volunteer efforts. From November 1963 through November 1964 217 patients were treated in the Clinic. During the first year of operation of the Mental Health Clinic at the Ash Street location, $1,000 was contributed by the Mental Health Association in Wayne County.
The Association volunteers met many times with the County Commissioners, NC Department of Mental Health officials and the legislators to express the need to separate the Mental Health Clinic from the Wayne County Health Department. Approval was received in May of 1969 and a separate agency was created.
Through the efforts of the MHAWC, the need for a full-time drug coordinator was established, therefore, in August of 1971 with the support of the Association in providing office space and furnishings, a Drug Abuse Program was implemented by the Wayne County Mental Health Clinic.
In February of 1971, a Telephone Crisis Intervention Program (HOTLINE) was implemented through the Mental Health Association in Wayne County. The Drug Prevention Committee and the Suicide Prevention Committee joined forces to bring about HOTLINE. A grant of $9,583 was received from the North Carolina Committee on Law and Order to pay a coordinator’s salary, purchase telephone equipment, and pay telephone bills. Professionals cooperatively did the training of HOTLINE volunteers from both Cherry Hospital and the Wayne County Mental Health Center. In July of 1972, HOTLINE became a part of the Emergency Services of the Wayne County Mental Health Center.
The Wayne County Mental Health Clinic was officially designated as an Area Program in 1972, with an appointed Board of Directors and became the Wayne County Mental Health Center. In January of 1972, the Board of County Commissioners for Wayne County approved the recommendation of Liston G. Edwards, Clinical Psychologist, as the Wayne County Mental Health Center Area Director.
With the establishment of the Wayne County Mental Health Center, one of the initial goals of the Mental Health Association in Wayne County was met. The MHAWC continues to promote a public understanding and recognition of local mental health needs and improve attitudes about mental illnesses through strong advocacy and education of both the public and professional.
Mrs. Ida Williams became the first Executive Director of the Association in 1965, and Dr. Liston G. Edwards appropriated office space in appreciation of the services rendered to the Wayne County Mental Health Center. Mrs. Williams first served on the Board of Directors for two years. In 1967, she became a paid, part-time Executive Director. She served on the MHAWC with distinction for 12 years; and during those years under her supervision, great strides were made both in mental health treatment and in the public’s attitude about mental illness. Mrs. Eleanor Lucas Lancaster was hired as part-time bookkeeper for the Association in February 1974, and she held this position until August of 1988.
Mrs. Patricia S. Faircloth succeeded Mrs. Williams in September of 1977, as Executive Director. Following the resignation of Mrs. Lucas, bookkeeper, Mrs. Faircloth became a full-time employee, combining her duties as Executive Director with bookkeeping. During Ms. Faircloth’s tenure, the first membership campaign was implemented in 1980, which opened the door to expanded volunteer opportunities. Pierre the Pelican, an infant parenting program, was organized and implemented to provide mental health information to all new parents in Wayne County. Mrs. Faircloth resigned in September of 1991, after serving faithfully for 14 years.
Mental Health Association volunteers began a school for the developmentally disabled. Under the direction of Connie Hawkinsen volunteers developed and implemented a program to work with physically and mentally disabled children which grew to become the Edgewood Developmental School of the Wayne County Public School system.
Mrs. Carol Meyer became the Executive Director in October of 1991 and served until December of 1992. Mrs. Dorothy Allsbrook succeeded her in January of 1993, and resigned in April of 1995.
On May 1, 1995, Mrs. Judy D. Lynch was hired as the Executive Director of the MHAWC. Judy had recently retired after 30 years with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; she served the MHAWC until 1998.
In 1999 Jim Polito served as Executive Director, and was succeeded by Mrs. Sissy Newell. Mrs. Newell served the MHAWC until April of 2002.
In April of 2002 Mrs. Mary Hunt became the Executive Director. Mrs. Hunt served the MHAWC until 2004.
In 2004 Mrs. Amy Roux became Executive Director. In February of 2006 the Mental Health Association in Wayne County moved its office from the previous address at 719 East Ash Street over to the HOPE building at 804C Corporate Drive. This location is at the old Wayne Community College building.
In 2011, The Mental Association in Wayne County moved to the current location at 1608 E. Pine Street, Goldsboro. It is now an all volunteer non-profit.