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Category Archives: News

September in Savannah: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. We use this month to promote safety, resilience, and peace in our community.

Join Savannah-Chatham community organizations for events and gatherings aiming to bring people together, share resources, and spread compassion and hope.


FRIDAY 9th, 9:30AM
Commission Chambers of the Old Courthouse
Chatham County Board of Commissioners
Proclamation of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus

  • Road to Resilience Symposium
    Free conference on trauma, mindfulness, resilience, wellness, suicide prevention and more!
    Register HERE
  • Brake the Stigma Mental Health Awareness Car Show
    Amazing vehicles, vendors, raffles, awards, giveaways, food trucks, and more!
    Event Details HERE

TUESDAY 21st, 9AM-10:30AM & MONDAY 26th 11AM-12:30PM
The Community Resiliency Model (CRM)
Free skill-building wellbeing workshops.
Register HERE

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
Free 2-day training in suicide first aid.
Register HERE

SATURDAY 24th, 9:30AM
Lake Mayer Park
Out of the Darkness Savannah Walk
A journey of remembrance, hope, and support.
Event Details HERE

SUNDAY 25th, 12-4PM
Daffin Park
Savannah Day of Peace: Peace in the Park
A Peace Parade, Courageous Conversation Circle, Wellness Area for Mental Health, Youth Artist Corner, 2022 Peace builder Award and more!
Event Details HERE

Download & Share the September in Savannah PDF Flyer

Ms. Lizann Roberts Recognized for Supporting Community Suicide Prevention

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners recognized community-based suicide prevention and resiliency-building efforts with a proclamation in September, which is suicide prevention awareness month.  Ms. Tara Jennings, Strategic Planning Administrator at Chatham County, accepted the proclamation on behalf of community partners working together to build a suicide safer Chatham County.

The proclamation was shared with Ms. Lizann Roberts, Executive Director of Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition (CGIC), in recognition of her strategic leadership and fundraising accomplishments supporting mental health, suicide prevention, and resiliency-building initiatives in the community.

“Ms. Roberts is a key partner and leader whose vision, energy, and ability to bring community stakeholders together have been essential in creating sustainable and impactful programs,” said Ms. Vira Salzburn, Program Director for Safety & Resilience Programs at Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council (CCSNPC). “She is a wonderful partner and always willing to drive change through real collaboration.”

“We appreciate Ms. Roberts and her unwavering support of the Planning Council,” said Mr. Reginald Lee, CCSNPC Executive Director. “We are looking forward to continuing our work and making a difference in the lives of our residents.”

Read the proclamation here.

Planning Council Successfully Implements RAM Free Dental Clinic

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. – Remote Area Medical-RAM® Free Dental Clinic hosted by the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council (Planning Council) provided a free dental care pop-up clinic on August 28-29th for Chatham County residents at the Garden City Recreation Center.

In just 2 days, more than 100 volunteers treated 174 underserved and uninsured individuals providing $77,513 worth of free oral health services including cleanings, extractions, fillings, and root canals. Additionally,  165 oral health cancer screening were completed by faculty and students from the Georgia Southern University, Communication Sciences and Disorders program.

Patients were also able to receive COVID-19 vaccines and learn about various community programs and services from the participating vendors, to include Rape Crisis Center, The Salvation Army, St. Joseph’s/Candler African American Resource Center, Migrant Equity Southeast, Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), and Communications and Disorders master’s program at Georgia Southern University.

The clinic received financial and in-kind support from Chatham County Board of Commissioners, City of Savannah, Remote Area Medical-RAM®, Agenda Latina, The Savannah Community Foundation, Academy of General Dentistry Foundation, and Bio-One.

Tears of relief and and happy smiles from grateful patients spoke to the importance of providing accessible and affordable oral health services and addressing health disparities in the community.

The Planning Council’s Executive Director, Mr. Reginald Lee, who wholeheartedly and successfully led this effort with a great team of professionals and volunteers, thanks all of the partners and supporters of the Free Dental Clinic.

Watch this video report from the Free Dental Clinic and visit these media sites with news coverage of the clinic:

ABC Nightline Highlights the Work of the Planning Council

On a small stage in Savannah, Georgia, an officer with the city’s police department puts his improv skills to the test Wednesday in an acting class. In part, the class was meant to teach the students about observational awareness while also fostering community relations.

Anthony Watkins is an officer with the Savannah Police Department who took part in the class. The improv drill asked participants in the class to pretend they’re on a bus and to mimic the bus driver’s overly theatrical behaviors.

“I think as far as what I’m learning today, this is just not my comfort zone,” Watkins told “Nightline.” “Even being in this class for a short time today is just kind of pushing me to work and operate in a way that I would never have thought of before.”

The exercise, which requires participants to observe the driver and act on social cues, made Watkins feel stressed, he said. But he also sees the benefit of being taken out of his comfort zone.

“I think, as police officers, we’re always taught to be that authority … figure that is taking charge on scene and wanting to move in one specific direction,” Watkins told “Nightline.” “[The training] is kind of important to break us out of our comfort zone to where we can really achieve a personal connection. … Once you have that personal connection, it kind of creates a bond where a more peaceful resolution could be achieved.”

Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council, Inc. Awarded Funding to Become a State of Hope Site

Savannah, GA – Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council, Inc. (Planning Council) was recently selected to become a designated State of Hope site and to receive funding to aid with project implementation.

During the third round of solicitations for “big ideas” from communities, the Planning Council submitted a proposal to serve the Chatham County area by developing and implementing Mindful Self-Compassion program to build resilience and enhance emotional wellbeing of its residents. More than 200 applications were submitted with approximately 10% of the applicants being selected to receive funding.

“We were very impressed with the applicants this year,” said DFCS Director Tom Rawlings. “Some are large and comprehensive, and others are smaller grassroots organizations who are just getting started, but all are changing lives for the better in their communities.”

The State of Hope initiative aims to transform Georgia into a collection of communities where children and families have all they need to thrive and succeed. Innovative local strategies and partnerships are key to achieving that goal and are asked to submit “big ideas” that focus on improving the lives of children and families in one or more of four categories: education, trauma-informed practice, quality caregiving, and economic self-sufficiency.

The State of Hope initiative was started in 2018 through a partnership between the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Georgia State University’s Center for Professional Excellence, and Georgia Family Connection Partnership. Currently, 253 organizations have been designated as State of Hope sites and belong to the larger community – the Hope Ecosystem – where they can access technical assistance and opportunities for funding, build partnerships, and connect with each other.

To learn more or participate in the State of Hope initiative, go to

Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council Announces New Executive Director, Reginald C. Lee

June 18, 2019 (SAVANNAH, Ga) — The Executive Board of the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council (Planning Council) is pleased to announce that Reginald C. Lee will be joining the Planning Council as Executive Director on July 22nd.

Reginald earned a Bachelor of Professional Studies from Memphis State University, majoring in Human Service Administration.  Additionally, he received a Master of Arts Degree, with honors, from Webster University concentrating in Management and Leadership.

During his 38-year career in social services, Reginald has been tireless in his efforts to serve the homeless and individuals that are disenfranchised, incarcerated, and people recovering from addictions.

Prior to accepting this position, Reginald has most recently served as the Director of Programs at Old Savannah City Mission.  In the course of his career he has held various social service positions in Georgia, South Carolina, and Missouri. These positions include: Executive Director of United Methodist Metro Ministry, Director of Homeless Services for the City of St. Louis, Senior Associate for the United Way in St Louis, and Senior Human Service Specialist for the Darlington County Department of Social Services.

Reginald has been an active community advocate wherever he has lived and has served on many boards addressing social service needs.  He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless, Savannah Care Center, and J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care Center.  He has also served on the Board of Directors for St. Louis Area Food Bank, St. Louis Emergency Food and Shelter National Board, and the Lutheran High School Association of St. Louis. Reginald also served as a volunteer for the Kairos Prison Ministry.

Reginald is married to Dr. Rochelle Bornett Lee, an Assistant Professor of Nuclear Medicine Technology at Georgia Southern University. He and his wife have two adult children, Jocelyn and Reginald, who share his passion for human service as demonstrated by careers in healthcare and education.

Please help us welcome Reginald C. Lee to the Planning Council. In his new role as Executive Director, we are confident that he will continue to be a servant leader and an effective advocate and facilitator of community collaboration and cooperation in meeting community healthcare needs.

Multi-Stakeholder Collaborative in Chatham County Selected to Build Data Sharing Capacity through the DASH Mentor Program

A coalition of safety net primary health care providers; Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Center, J.C. Lewis Primary Health Center, St. Joseph’s/Candler St. Mary’s and Good Samaritan Clinics, Memorial Family Medicine, Chatham CARE and social service providers and funders; the United Way of the Coastal Empire, City of Savannah, Chatham County as well as the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools and Coastal Indicators Coalition have been selected by Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to participate in a 10-month mentorship program led by Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council to advance local efforts to share and use multi-sector data to improve community health.

As a DASH Mentee, they will connect with communities from around the country through All In: Data for Community Health, a peer-to-peer learning network that builds local capacity to systematically combine health data with data from other sectors like education, social services, and housing to acquire a more complete picture of the factors that influence health.

The Chatham Team will be working with 2-1-1 San Diego, a national leader in the development of a Community Information Exchange (CIE). CIEs are a collective movement and technology platform that shifts how health and social service providers deliver person-centered care. 2-1-1 San Diego mentorship will provide the toolkit to develop CIE infrastructure, interoperable technology, community network, legal frameworks, and sustainability.

Participation in the DASH Mentor Program will help the community come together and begin exploring the concept of a CIE for Chatham County and think through what that might look like.

The Chatham Team is excited to make meaningful connections with leaders in the field to accelerate learning and make significant progress towards aligning multi-sector partners around data-driven approaches that promote health equity.

To learn more, visit

For Affordable Eyeglasses, Call St. Mary’s Community Center

Do you need affordable eyeglasses?  Call St. Mary’s Community Center (912) 447-0578 today!  St. Mary’s offers an eyeglass clinic once a month or by appointment.  For individuals with prescriptions the cost of the glasses is $30.  For those who do not have a prescription and meet the income requirements and are uninsured, you can qualify for a free eye exam at the Georgia Eye Institute.  St. Mary’s Community Center is located 812 W 36th St, Savannah.

Heads-Up Guidance Services (HUGS) has a new location!

Heads-Up Guidance Services (HUGS) has a new location!  It’s at 5 Executive Circle, Savannah, GA 31406.

Heads-Up Guidance Services is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization making Mental & Behavioral Health Counseling and Addiction Recovery Services available and affordable to ALL in need.   HUGS is funded by community donations and operated by local volunteers.  Free Consultations may be scheduled to learn more about our services.
To Begin Counseling Services… Call to schedule an INTAKE…912.417.4320  Intakes are information gathering sessions (required paperwork) when the client meets with a counselor  to complete a Needs Assessment.   Cost of Intake is $25.


Children’s Special Services & Effingham County Health Department Recognized as Outstanding Outreach Partners

The Coastal Campaign for Healthy Kids recognized the Effingham County Health Department and Children’s Special Services (CSS) which include Babies Can’t Wait, Children’s 1st and Children’s Medical Services, as Outstanding Outreach Partners!

County Nurse Manager, Cynthia Grovenstein and her staff, Early Intervention Coordinator, Kim McCaliley, the Children’s 1st & Children’s Medical Services and Children’s Special Services Coordinator, Jocelyn Hall accepted the recognition at the Safety Net Full Council meeting in July.  The Effingham County Health Departments serve families in Effingham County include the WIC Clinic for pregnant women and children.  CSS provides funding and support services for children with disabilities and chronic medical conditions.  The children have to have health insurance to qualify for the cost-sharing and access to critical therapies and specialists.  Safety Net recognized them for their sustained efforts in keeping the services of the Campaign top of mind with your team and trusting our enrollment assistors with their families.

Since the Campaign for Healthy Kids expanded to five additional counties in June 2016, the Coastal Health District has referred 156 families. Most of these referrals resulted in the submission of new or renewing application, checking up on an existing application or investigating a denial.   One case manager from Babies Can’t Wait shared the impact one family who was referred to the Campaign staff with the following note. “Just wanted you to know about the family you helped, last week. Your efforts, by contacting your people in Medicaid, has brought JOY to this mom and dad. Her son’s Medicaid was approved and retro-activated from August. She said her son had a heart appointment next month that she didn’t know how it was going to get paid for. She said she had outstanding bills that will now be paid for. She was sooooo thankful…..I told her about you and she wanted me to thank you again.”