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Myra Bennett loves her job. As coordinator of the Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network, she helps people struggling with difficult conditions like depression and anxiety.
“It is treatable. That's why I say people don't have to suffer,” she says. “They can get help. They just have to know where to go, and where to get help and how to access it.”
In a way, you can say she’s been preparing herself for the role for the last two decades. For 20 years, she’s served as a clinician for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s Employee Assistance Program, which serves more than 40,000 employees across the Mid-South, providing professional assessment, referral and counseling services.
“That experience has helped me in doing assessments for the Front Porch,” Myra says, referring to the network’s less formal name. “I answer calls from the public and do assessments over the phone, and I help connect people with behavioral health providers.”
The Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network was formally launched a year ago with the help of Debbie Jones. On Dec. 28, 2009, after years of secretly battling depression, Debbie’s husband, Dennis, took his own life. Hoping to turn the tragedy into something good, Debbie made a generous gift to the Methodist Healthcare Foundation that led to the creation of the program. It’s a collection of tools and resources gathered for the sole purpose of helping those with depression, anxiety and risky drinking. The program began with the creation of the Front Porch website, and Myra is already helping those individuals in need.
“The mission is to help people live a full and abundant life,” Myra says. “That includes trying to decrease the stigma that is attached to depression and mental illness.”
At www.livingwellfrontporch.org, you can learn more about depression and anxiety, about solutions for coping with life’s challenges and can find information on treatment programs, doctors and counselors. Or call 901-762-8558 to reach a licensed professional who will listen, assess and connect you with a professional who can help.