NAMI training groupThere are few things that the staff and peers of Perry Wellness Center enjoy more than hosting guests. Whether it’s customers at the market, visiting nursing students, or community organizations, founder and CEO Stuart Perry and his extended “family” enjoy each interaction.

Few visits are more pleasing than those of other mental health providers and advocacy groups. A particular favorite is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) groups, representing mental health consumers and family members. The closest chapter of the national organization is located in Albany, Georgia, and the group visits several times each year, as Perry Wellness Center serves as a nearby model for a peer-run recovery and wellness program.

This month, a group from the Albany chapter visited once more, arriving on a partnership bus furnished by Albany State University. This month’s visitors included representatives from the Dougherty County Sheriff’s office, the Albany Police Department, Albany area correctional officers, and other law enforcement officers from surrounding counties. As the bus parked in the crowded parking lot, first-time visitors were welcomed to the campus by peers and staff.

First on the agenda was a guided tour by Rhonda Hubbard, a peer who has become the PWC tour director. A highlight of the tour for many was a stop at Rudy’s Happy Patch Market, where several visitors selected day lilies and other plants for their home gardens.

After information sharing and a meeting with many of the Perry Wellness Center peers, the visitors shared a delicious meal of chicken and vegetables fresh from the market.

Albany NAMI leader and trip facilitator Sue Marlowe offered her praise, saying, “This visit is always a treat for me and for our growing number of visitors. These people have heard much about Perry Wellness Center and visit to learn better ways to handle any action that might arise in their professional activity.”

Stuart Perry enjoys sharing the lessons of a successful behavioral health program with groups such as the NAMI and law enforcement group. “It was a very busy day at Perry Wellness Center,” he acknowledged, “But we welcome this group from the Albany area to our campus!” Stuart knows the importance of working closely with law enforcement officials, who are often the first line of contact when an individual with mental illness is in crisis.

Our thanks to Sue Marlowe, Albany NAMI, and area law enforcement officers for all their support!

In the photo above, Albany-area NAMI representatives and law enforcement officers assemble at the Perry Wellness Center covered pavilion after a day of fellowship and learning.

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