Aligning Resources Across Georgia To Support Resiliency
To Our Resilient Georgia Partners and Stakeholders:
As we welcome a new month, we wanted to promote mindful self compassion. We hope each of you are able to treat yourselves with the same compassion you provide to others during these stressful times. Resilient Georgia continues to be here to support you and share as many helpful resources as possible.

Next month we will host our first Resilient Georgia General Meeting of the new year. Please mark your calendar for March 11th, from 11:00-12:30. We will be sending out a meeting invitation in the near future. The focus of this meeting will be Early Childhood Mental Health (0-5), and we will have several experts from across the state share some very exciting updates and best practices.

We also have a new inspiring section of the newsletter that we would like to share with you. Resilient Georgia, in partnership with the Pittulloch Foundation, has been working with 8 regions across Georgia to provide a regional emphasis on trauma-informed awareness and care, ACEs, and child sexual abuse prevention training as a basis to transform systems crossing both public and private sectors. Over the next several months, we will be highlighting their efforts. This week we hope you take a moment to read about the impressive work that Resilient Middle Georgia is doing!

We would also like to highlight several resources and news updates:
  • Read about the launch of The Confess Project (TCP) Atlanta – an organization that is building a national movement to increase access to mental health supports and services for African American males. This program builds upon the unique bond that Black men have with their barbers by equipping barbers with the skills to become mental health advocates and make appropriate referrals.
  • We are proud to highlight that the mental health initiative, Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative (PAD), has been expanded to also take calls for mental health, drug use, public disturbances, and public indecency concerns. Atlanta residents can dial 311 (or 404-546-0311 if outside the city limits).
  • Many of Georgia's families rely on Medicaid and PeachCare to access behavioral health supports and services that help their children thrive. We would like to share this very helpful resource for parents and families navigating the PeachCare and Medicaid behavioral health appeals process.
  • NAMI Cobb & NAMI Moultrie are hosting a free, eight-session, peer-to-peer class beginning on February 20 to help adults with mental health conditions understand themselves and their recovery better. For more information, click here.
  • This study by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) Georgia Apex program, reports a significant increase in school climate and a decrease in disciplinary incidents in participating schools over time.

During these unprecedented times, we are sharing an uplifting, positive story in each newsletter. Enjoy this story about a Georgia State University alumna below:

  • Tammy Hughes (B.S.W., M.S.W. ) an Impact Director for Central Atlanta Progress and liaison for the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, launched ADID Social Impact Safety Team, a mobile unit that "traverses the city on foot with tablets to reconnect individuals experiencing homelessness with the social services they need reconnecting individuals experiencing homelessness." The initiative had reached nearly 800 of an estimated 3,240 individuals living on Atlanta’s streets" as of last December. Click here to read more about her inspiring work.
Lastly, thank you as always for your continued partnership and support, and for continuing to share helpful resources and training with us to disseminate as we all work collectively towards a more resilient and trauma-informed Georgia! 


Brenda Fitzgerald, MD
Executive Board Chair
Emily Anne Vall, PhD
Executive Director
Regional Coalition Spotlight
Can you give us a brief description of Resilient Middle Georgia?

The Resilient Middle Georgia Coalition is a trauma-informed,
community-building organization seeking to empower the cities and counties in Middle Georgia by partnering with community organizations and agencies
to enact long-term change and build resilience in individuals,
families, and the community. 

Resilient Middle Georgia
Coalition Geographic Service Area: Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Monroe, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington, Wilkinson
What are some of the innovative partnerships that have helped address the behavioral health needs of the region?

Resilient Middle Georgia collaborated with Middle Georgia Regional Library System to develop & distribute a trauma informed bookmark for distribution to patrons. The library system also distributed 900 Resilience Bags with their children’s summer reading activities and curb-side pickup offerings.
What are some accomplishments you would like to highlight?
  • Resilient Middle Georgia has successfully held four coalition meetings within middle Georgia, provided multiple training opportunities (including evidence-based training) for approximately 700 individuals, conducted and evaluated a community needs assessment, disbursed 5,000 resilience bags to community partners, completed six media deliverables, and participated in several partnerships (Middle Georgia Regional Library System, DFCS, Bibb County School System) to build awareness of trauma-informed care among community organizations. 

Click here to read more about the amazing work Resilient Middle Georgia is doing to address the needs of the region.

Website: Facebook: @resilientmiddlega
Mental Health is the Next Pandemic
Reports of the negative toll on the mental health of children and young adults during the pandemic continue to make the news.
The pandemic, having disrupted access to critical in-person support services such as school therapists, has left fewer outpatient options. This, according to NPR 'Morning Edition' report, has made it difficult for people like Sandra, a nurse who lives outside Atlanta, to get help for her 17-year-old daughter who also has autism. Parents and families are now increasingly turning to hospital emergency rooms and in Sandra's case, the police for crisis management. Responses on the Household Pulse Survey administered by the U.S. Census Bureau also show that younger adults living alone are more likely to report feeling depressed or anxious. All of these challenges are leading child psychiatrists to warn that the pandemic may be driving up kids’ suicide risk.

Looking towards resources, programs like Second Story, a mental health program in California, are stepping up to fill some of the gaps by providing a "welcoming place where people can stay when they're experiencing or nearing mental health crisis". City Year, a nonprofit AmeriCorps program that works with public schools, is also having its Corps members keep a watchful eye on the mental health of the students they are tutoring. Finally, medical professionals continue to offer helpful tips like these ones from the American Medical Association that encourages us to find ways to have community and maintain hope.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
As the pandemic continues to be a source of unprecedented stress to families and communities across America, it has also exacerbated the impact of existing childhood traumas such as racial trauma. Dr. Jack Shonkoff, the founder of Harvard's Center on the Developing Child, answers questions about the impact of COVID-19 and childhood trauma with PBS NEWSHOUR William Brangham. He concluded the Q&A presentation with the encouraging message that "we have the capacity to overcome any adversity".

Looking towards prevention, check out these free upcoming webinars on preventing child maltreatment hosted by the Child Maltreatment National Peer Learning Team, a collaboration between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Program for Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER). The Center for Leadership in Disability and the Georgia Department of Public Health are also hosting a free Positive Behavior Support Parent Academy training series to help parents "understand, prevent, and replace persistent challenging behaviors of children ages 3 – 5 years old."

Finally, Dr. Alicia Thompson McBride, an inspiring 11th grade English teacher in rural Georgia, is finding creative ways to address the adverse experiences her students are facing outside of the classroom. She recently assigned her students to read Kobe Bryant's poem, "Dear Basketball" and to write their own poems about something they had lost or feared losing.
COVID-19 Resources
  • The State of Georgia has a new COVID-19 hotline. Call (844) 442-2681 if you believe that you or someone in your family are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
  • Atlanta ex-lawyer turned code writer, Ben Warlick, has created a text message system that alerts residents of several Georgia counties of open COVID-19 vaccine appointments near them. 
  • A recent Lending Tree analysis of data from the Center for American Progress and Child Care Aware of America, found that Georgia has seen the largest increase to child care costs for children ages 3 & 4 (up 115%) and second-largest for infants and toddlers (up 88%) during the pandemic.
  • Pediatricians and nutrition experts provide clinical guidance for dealing with children's pandemic weight gain in this article. Their recommendations emphasize focusing on changing behavior rather than weight, picking one thing to change, practicing self-compassion, and getting help from your pediatrician.
Racial Equity Resources

  • This article, by Harvard Medicine, highlights the effects of racial trauma on Black youth and the transformative solution of trauma-informed practices.
Be sure to read additional resources on the topics above, and more, here.
“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance.”
- Jodi Picoult