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Features Health & Wellness

Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or background and are often the result of mental health conditions. But suicide is preventable. One conversation with a person who cares can make a difference. To honor National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers resources that can equip everyone to hold a conversation with a friend or loved one who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.

"Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America and the third-leading cause of death for young people 10-24. Though they may occur regularly for some individuals, suicidal thoughts should always be taken seriously," said NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti, J.D. "In many cases, the individuals, friends and families affected by suicide feel shame or stigma that prevents talking openly about the issue. Having one conversation can help someone through a troubling time."


Starting Sept. 14, Southwestern Community College will offer its phlebotomy program as a continuing education option – cutting in half the length of required class and clinical time compared to when it was o ffered as a curriculum certificate. The new format also greatly reduces the cost of preparing for national certification.

“There are job opportunities in this field,” said Dale Hall, the program’s instructor. “Employers often call us to see if we have any graduates ready to go to work yet. I’m excited we’re now able to offer phlebotomy this way.”

Classes meet from 12:30-3:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thurdays through Nov. 5, and clinical training is from Nov. 9-Dec. 30.

The class costs $185 plus books, insurance, background checks, immunizations, drug screening and uniforms.


Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital have announced that Melanie Batchelor, MHS, RD, LDN, CDE, Wellness Coordinator & Diabetes Educator has been recognized as the hospital’s 2015 Mercy Award winner. The Mercy Award recognizes one employee from each of LifePoint Health’s more than 60 hospitals, including Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital, who profoundly touches the lives of others and best represents the spirit and values on which the company was founded.

The Mercy Award program is an annual recognition that was established in 2002 to honor the life of Scott Mercy, LifePoint’s founding chairman and chief executive officer (CEO). The Mercy Award is considered the highest honor a LifePoint employee can receive.

“At Harris and Swain, we share Life- Point’s commitment to making communities healthier, and we recognize that this is supported by the good work and service of our employees on and off the job,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. “We are extremely proud to recognize Melanie for her efforts on behalf of our patients and our community. She goes above and beyond each and every day to ensure that every person she encounters is treated with the highest level of care and compassion.”


NAMI Appalachian South, the local affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), is offering a free 10- week course on recovery and wellness for adults challenged with a mental illness. This Peer-to-Peer course is a nationally recognized course with a holistic approach to recovery through a combination of lecture, discussion, interactive exercises and stress-management techniques. Living with a mental illness is a traumatic, challenging experience, and can affect all aspects of one's life including work, relationships, family and self-care.

The series is led by NAMI trained facilitators who themselves are in recovery from mental illness and who can share their unique coping strategies with others pursuing recovery. The curriculum covers the major mental illnesses, treatment, coping strategies, and relapse prevention in a safe, confidential environment of sincere, uncritical acceptance so that each individual can explore their own experiences and make choices concerning their own options.


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