In April 2016, NAMI-Charlotte partnered with Providence United Methodist Church (PUMC) to launch a drop-in center for persons with mental health challenges (consumers). On the first Saturday of every month (including holiday weekends), volunteers from both organizations gather in the lower-level Mission Center from noon to 2:30 to serve a meal and provide an opportunity for socialization and cultural enrichment to consumers and their family members.
The center, known as Providence Place, averages approximately 35-40 participants each month. Shortly after signing in and receiving a nametag, everyone who is able takes part in an ice-breaker activity. Lunch is served by volunteers who then enjoy sitting down with consumers and their family members and getting to know them. Following lunch there will be a program that might include music, art, crafts, writing, exercise, dance, games or other enriching interactive activities. Sometimes bingo is the main attraction, and it is always available for those who love to play it.
Too often, real or perceived social isolation occurs as a result of mental illness. Recent studies are beginning to provide data showing that regular and focused social interaction engenders feelings of self-control and self-confidence, reduces social isolation, and leads to better physical and mental health. We at Providence Place feel encouraged by these research findings, as well as the results we see with our own eyes, as consumers and families begin putting our gathering on their social calendars. Drop in and join us whether you are a consumer, a family member, a volunteer, or an advocate. It’s all free and absolutely good for your mental health!