CULLMAN, Ala. – Good Samaritan Health Clinic has announced the 6th annual Caring for Cullman Concert featuring the award-winning Triumphant Quartet and Christian comedian/author Mickey Bell on Monday, Oct. 18, at 6 p.m. at Northbrook Baptist Church, 3691 State Road 157 in Cullman. Good Samaritan Executive Director Jolanda Hutson plans to celebrate the clinic’s new mental health services supported by the Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund.
“We started offering these services to our patients back in July 2020 and basically, if an individual qualifies for our clinic, then they have access to all the services that we provide,” said Hutson. “Now, we’re able to add our list of services onto that, mental health counseling.”
Good Samaritan has already referred over 30 patients for counseling at Haven Counseling Services in South Vinemont.
Licensed counselor Mandy Wilhite, who operates Haven Counseling Services, said in October 2020, “Through tragedy, we have made numerous touches throughout our community, touches that would not be possible without the support of the Good Samaritan Clinic and the Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund. Programs such as this are what makes Cullman among some of the most blessed places just to live. We are currently in a society where mental health assistance is often overlooked, not accepted, unavailable or unachievable due to financial constraints. Through this memorial fund, we are readily available to help those in need through the Good Samaritan referral system, that would not otherwise be able to receive these services. We are a community blessed with many talents, services and those willing to go above and beyond their calling.”
About the Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund
The children of Stephen K. Griffith established the fund to honor the memory of their father, a prominent Cullman attorney who was murdered in 2017 by a man suffering from severe mental illness. The next year, Griffith’s family started the Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund to provide mental health services to Cullman County residents who cannot afford services or lack insurance.
A statement issued by Good Samaritan said:
At Good Samaritan Health Clinic, we provide primary health and wellness care to the uninsured members of our community. Our patients have relatively low income and simply do not have the ability to pay for health care services. For several years now, we’ve been able to provide our patients with a full range of services including medications, dental extractions, referrals to specialists, hearing evaluations and select vision services, but we haven’t been able to offer mental health services until now.
We are incredibly grateful to partner with the Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund. This partnership has enabled us to provide mental health counseling for our patients through Haven Counseling Services. As a result, we are able to help our patients build a stronger foundation toward both physical and mental health.
There is a definite need for mental health care throughout the population here in our community. Most patients who utilize the Good Samaritan Clinic usually have a history of mental illness that is, for the most part, untreated due to lack of access to care. Seventy-five to eighty percent of our patient population is on medications that treat mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, and almost 1/3 of these patients have multiple mental health disorders like PTSD, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression.
During the past 10 months, we’ve referred over 30 of our patients to HCS and in this relatively short period of time, we’ve seen wonderful results. Several of our patients have commented on the positive impact that counseling has had on their lives. After only a couple of months, one of our patients shared his experience …
“The Good Samaritan Clinic and Haven Counseling entered my life at a very crucial time. Through the guidance and therapy that I have been given, I truly find more meaning, value and happiness in life. This is a complete contrast to my perspective before and I truly believe that, in some way, I have been given a second chance at life.”
In general terms, our patient population has improved tremendously with the ability to access mental health counseling. They’ve gained new coping skills to help them better manage their mental health issues and they’ve also learned to trust individuals who are trying to help them. In all actuality, we may never know the full impact on someone’s life who is able to get the counseling services they need.
Honoring Steve’s Memory:
Good Samaritan Clinic is honored to partner with The Stephen K. Griffith Memorial Fund and Haven Counseling Services to provide these much-needed mental health services to our patients. We are grateful to have a part in honoring Steve’s memory as we partner to raise mental health awareness and fill the tremendous gap in the accessibility of mental health services in the Cullman community. We are especially grateful to The Griffith Family for allowing the tragedy of Steve’s passing to be used for good, positively impacting so many in our community.
Mickey Bell talks about mental health
Entertainer Mickey Bell faced his own struggle with mental illness and has published books and videos on the subject.
“For me, the tragic moment, and pretty much what depression is, is the fact that your brain doesn’t know how to respond to a tragic moment in your life. And the tragic moment that happened in my life came when I was serving as a pastor of a church, and I had a moral fall while I was serving as the pastor. So in a matter of 10 minutes, I was not only fired from the church, but they kicked me and my family out of our church housing. So I was unemployed and homeless at the same time.
“Because of that moment that happened in my life, and because of the emotions that happened as a result of that, that threw me and my emotions into a tailspin. And that’s when I fell into the depression that I had experienced, to where I didn’t want to live, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, I was very embarrassed and all of those emotions put together caused me to just hit rock bottom. And I was there for a while.
“It also caused me to build up an anxiety of being out in public, because I had the voices in my head telling me that everyone was talking about me, and pointing at me and laughing at me, and so I built up an anxiety to where I was unable to get out of the house. So it wasn’t until my family sat me down and said, ‘Alright, you’re going to have to do something. We can’t continue living like this,’ that I started meeting with a psychologist and a physician. And I started meeting with them every week for an entire year.
“And so they worked with me to where I could get out of the house and then just continue to progress until now, I’m actually standing onstage telling people my story and talking about it.”
For Bell, the tragedies of his life created the mission he now pursues.
Said Bell, “This is strictly what I feel like I’ve been placed on the earth to, not to make mistakes, but to take my mistakes and use them to warn and help others. Right now, we’re building our brand on YouTube and Facebook as a place that people who deal with this can go to just for encouragement, just to have someone that they can relate to. So we’re putting a lot of effort and emphasis behind it.
“And Jolanda and Good Samaritan, they have been fantastic about it, as well. And I’m very excited about what they’re doing and the steps they’re taking to help people who have to battle this type of thing. And so, you know, that’s why I’m always excited — I think this is going to be my third year — I’m very excited to be a part of it and will be a part of it as long as they let me, because I just believe in everything they’re doing.”
If people see themselves in your story, what would you tell them to do first?
Bell shared, “Very first thing that I tell everybody that comes up to me at concerts: ‘Go see your family doctor.’ Be very honest with them, tell them exactly what you’re thinking, tell them how you’re feeling, and tell them you need help.”
Find Bell’s videos on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_SjKJCoDpmUpt94-Pz4yvA.
At a glance
Caring for Cullman Concert Concert featuring Triumphant Quartet and Mickey Bell
Northbrook Baptist Church, 3691 State Road 157 in Cullman
Monday, Oct. 18, at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m.
All tickets are General Admission; $15 from ticket outlets or at door, or $18 if purchased online.
Beginning in September, advance tickets may be purchased online at https://www.goodsamaritancullman.com/ or at one of the following ticket outlets:
- The Good Samaritan Health Clinic, 401 Arnold Street NE, Suite A
- Yates Chance Christian Bookstore, 1650 Second Ave. SW
- Borden Family Pharmacy, 3190 AL Highway 157
A love offering will be received the evening of the concert.
If you are unable to attend the concert but would like to make a donation, visit https://www.goodsamaritancullman.com/ or mail your donation to 401 Arnold Street NE, Suite A, Cullman, AL 35055.
To learn more about Good Samaritan’s services, how to qualify, or to make a donation, please visit https://www.goodsamaritancullman.com/.
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