ATLANTA – Skyland Trail, a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization, celebrated the beginning of National Mental Health Month by hosting two community events: the Dorothy C. Fuqua Lecture and Arts in the Garden.
On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, nearly 300 people filled the seats of the Atlanta History Center’s McElreath Hall to listen to personal stories of suicide loss and expert analysis on opportunities to prevent suicide for the 2019 Dorothy C. Fuqua Lecture presented in partnership with Grady Health System. Former United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates spoke candidly with veteran Atlanta journalist Brenda Wood about her father’s struggles with depression, his suicide in 1986, and the impact it had on both her and her family.
Mental health experts including Ben Hunter, MD, medical director of outpatient services at Skyland Trail, and Dorian Lamis, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Grady Health System, were joined by Rev. Dr. D. Scott Weimer, senior pastor at North Avenue Presbyterian Church and a suicide loss survivor, for further discussion with Wood and Yates. Dr. Hunter and Dr. Lamis addressed the staggering increase in attempted suicides across the country while Rev. Weimer offered the powerful story of losing his young adult son to suicide just three years ago. All offered insight into discussing the topic with loved ones and how to best support those who have lost someone close to them or to help someone who may be struggling.
On Friday, May 3, 2019, Skyland Trail continued the celebration with the 22nd annual Arts in the Garden held at the Charles B. West Campus. Over 600 people visited Skyland Trail’s campus, many from other mental health organizations in the surrounding community, to take in all forms of art. Twenty-five art vendors displayed and sold their unique works to attendees while an array of musical performances from current and former clients, the Skyland Trail band, and many others took place on two stages. The cake walk presented by the Skyland Trail Associates engaged visitors, and many guests purchased various tomato species, herbs, succulents, and other botanicals at the plant sale.
Skyland Trail President and CEO Beth Finnerty addressed the crowd around midday to recognize the organization’s 30th anniversary and express gratitude for the organizers of Arts in the Garden and the Skyland Trail staff who make the residential mental health treatment program possible.