Douglas County Chairman Dr. Romona Jackson Jones Announces October as Behavioral Health Month with “Stomp the Stigma” Awareness Campaign
Community Leaders, Law Enforcement and Psychology Professionals Convene for Mental Health Awareness Series for Douglas and Surrounding Counties
Chairman Dr. Romona Jackson Jones has proclaimed October as Douglas County Behavioral Health Month, with a series of events designed to build awareness and to “Stomp the Stigma” that accompanies the increasingly important subject of mental health.
“Given the mounting prevalence of stress and trauma disorders in Douglas County and based on my service with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities since 2011, there is a mounting need to shine a bright light on stress and trauma-related disorders”, stated Chairman Jackson Jones. “The daily headlines, national statistics, and Douglas County news clearly reveals that we must begin to take this taboo subject more seriously right away and it begins with easy discussions that gradually reduce the stigma”, noted Chairman Jackson Jones.
Behavioral Health Month will unite local school, religious, military, psychology, treatment facility, and legal stakeholders to fulfill the mission of Chairman Jackson Jones. The workshops, forums, worksite wellness events, and school initiatives we have planned for October will not solve the national crisis, but this is where Douglas County will begin. Chairman Jackson Jones, a 40 year healthcare professional, has also launched the Douglas County Behavioral Health Council, which is charged with planning an ongoing awareness strategy to focus on research, policy, programs, and promotion to continue building awareness throughout the year.
The month long series will include two “Stomp the Stigma” community panels, school awareness programs, Senior Center presentations, employee wellness efforts, and free community holistic wellness services, including massage and yoga throughout the month. Partners include Greystone Power, Willowbrooke at Tanner Health System, Douglas County Public Schools, Douglas County Health Department, Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, State Judicial and Legislative Members, Ridgeview Institute, professional psychology professionals, and many more. “In structuring this initiative, our focus was placed exclusively on supplying the best information available to stress and trauma disorder survivors and those whose lives they touch. As such, our partners and sponsors represent a cross section of Douglas County and Metro Atlanta”, stated Tiffany Stewart Stanley, Director of External Affairs.
Throughout the month, “Stomp the Stigma” will be present in schools, workplaces, and community events across Douglas County. Speakers will include Dr. Annie Prescott of Douglasville Psychotherapy at Oak Hill, Dr. Brooke Jones of Fresh Start for the Mind, Superior Court Judge Beau McClain, William Boddie, Sheriff Timothy Pounds, Superior Court Judge Cynthia Adams, Juvenile Court Judge Peggy Walker, District Attorney Brian Fortner, and long list of industry professionals.
The series will conclude with a Community Forum, hosted by Vice Chairman District 2 Commissioner Kelly Robinson on October 24th at the Douglasville Conference Center at 6pm and a Walk for Wellness, starting at the steps of the Douglas County Courthouse on October 28th at 10am. Commissioner Robinson has led an annual behavioral health forum during October for the past two years.
The first step is to become Aware of the high prevalence of stress and trauma-related disorders in our community and society. Step 2 is to Advocate for ourselves, friends, families, loved ones, and co-workers, with honest conversation about the truths of behavioral health and addiction. The final step is taking Action with improved lifestyle and personal wellness strategies, including exercise, nutrition, and spirituality. With these three “A”s, we can make things a little easier for survivors and their supporters to take effective steps to “Stomp the Stigma”.
As a United States veteran, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders are more familiar to Chairman Jones than she would like. Depression, anxiety, substance/alcohol abuse, and child abuse abuse are just a few of the topics about which our county must become more aware in order to begin addressing and slaying these disorders that are professionally predicted to touch every Douglas county and Metro Atlanta household by 2020. Given the breadth and impact of stress and trauma-related disorders, “Not creating an ongoing awareness initiative and Douglas County Behavioral Health Council at this time would be irresponsible as a county leader”, states Chairman Jackson Jones, whose mantra is Never Quit! Please visit stompthestigma.org/Douglas for more information.
Chairman Dr. Romona Jackson Jones
Shortly after graduating from high school, Chairman Jackson Jones followed the footsteps of her father (Korean War Veteran) by joining the U. S. Army for three years. She married a U. S. Marine and is officially retired as a former spouse of 19 years. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University, Masters degree from Chapman University, and Educational Doctorate from Argosy University. Dr. Jones worked in the healthcare industry for 40 years, of which 31 years involved leadership, operations management, budget, policy development, personnel, process improvement, strategic planning, and master facility planning. She has worked in Federal government, State government, public, private, non-profit and for-profit organizations. She was among the first Civil Service employees in the Nation to coordinate and direct a Federally regulated environmental program for the U. S. Navy. She has led several multi-million dollar master facility planning and execution projects for healthcare organizations. Dr. Jones took office January 1, 2017.
Interviews with Chairman Dr. Romona Jackson Jones are available upon request.