MACON, Ga. — This report has been contributed by Dee Dee Cudjoe, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.
That was Georgia’s ranking of access to mental health services in the United States, according to 2021 data from Mental Health America.
“If Georgia’s dead last, that gives Macon an opportunity to be a bright spot in our state,” said Andrea Cooke, program director for Macon Mental Health Matters.
Macon Mental Health Matters (MMHM) is a no-cost mental health initiative created to assist the creation of mentally healthy, resilient communities through various counseling services.
Cooke set up a Clubhouse conversation in 2020 to combat this issue and extended invites to community leaders and commissioners; including Mayor Lester Miller.
“It lasted almost three hours,” said Cooke. “And he [Mayor Lester Miller] made a commitment on that Clubhouse call to help me do something about access to mental health services in Macon.”
Now, MMHM provides services for both individuals and families, financial counseling, conflict resolution, and non-traditional mental health activities.
“Any service that we offer is free of charge,” said Cooke. “When we offer yoga, when we offer a mental health pop-up gym, when we offer a mental health session, a drum session -- everything is included.”
The initiative does this to ensure that it is barrier free, eliminates stigma, and removes the access barrier.
“I see the Macon Mental Health Matters initiative being not only a catalyst, but a blueprint for how a community can take care of the least of us,” said Cooke.
Mental health services are located at Booker T. Washington Community Center, Elaine H. Lucas Senior Center, Rosa Jackson Recreation Center, Bloomfield-Gilead Recreation Center, Macon Memorial Gym, and L. H. Williams Elementary School.
You can also check them out online at https://www.maconmentalhealthmatters.com or call 478-741-1268 for enrollment in services or membership opportunities.