Friends of SMSH held the organization’s annual business meeting and recognition ceremony on April 26. The Mexican-themed celebration honored volunteers, Friends sponsors and employee members as well as the hospital’s 2017 employees of the quarter.
During the meeting, Melanie Ingram was named the 2017 Employee of the Year. Selected from employees of each quarter, the honor was voted on by hospital employees.
Ingram was hired as a recreation therapist in October 2012 after completing an internship at SMSH and working temporarily on the clinical unit as an active treatment technician. She is a certified music therapist and serves as one of the hospital’s Mandt instructors. She is an Emerald level member of Friends of SMSH.
“Her paperwork is impeccable,” said Dr. Scott Willoughby, SMSH program director, who is also her supervisor. “Melanie is a hard worker, and I am so pleased to see her named Employee of the Year.”
She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from William Carey University in 2002 and earned a second Bachelor’s degree from WCU in Music Therapy in 2011. Ingram is currently enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi pursuing a Master’s degree in Child and Family Studies.
“She speaks clearly and gives great directions when leading groups,” said Tara Sullivan, ATT. “She listens to patients and is really a caring person.”
The organization elected new officers and board members during the meeting. Pat Lee, of Lamar Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, will serve as president; Doug Boutwell, a community volunteer, will serve as vice-president. Donna Boutwell and Andy Tucker, who are ex-officio officers, will serve as secretary and treasurer, respectively. Benny Prestridge, a community volunteer, will fill the slot of past president.
Other board members include: Bill Coll (community volunteer), Missy Gipson (Hancock Whitney), Michael Graham (Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association), Andrea Hood (Hancock Whitney), Melanie Ingram (SMSH 2017 Employee of the Year), Harold Myatt (community volunteer), Steve Reid (Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home), May Watson (SMSH 2016 Employee of the Year), and Wynona Wiley (community volunteer). Members elected to the Honorary Board of Directors are Ed Felsher (community volunteer), Greg Lowery (Owens Business Machines), and Jeff Mayo (Oak Grove Heating & Air).
Keynote speaker for the meeting was Robert Landrum, of Ellisville. Mr. Landrum is retired from Jones County Junior College. He is currently president of the Mississippi Board of Mental Health and has served on the board since 1993. He and his wife, Jenny, have been involved in the mental health field in Mississippi since the early 1980s.
Hospital volunteers and Friends of SMSH corporate sponsors were also recognized. The meeting closed with a reception in the hospital’s multi-purpose room.
South Mississippi State Hospital (SMSH) is a 50-bed acute care behavioral health program in Purvis that offers mental health treatment and services for adults in the southern part of the state. The hospital’s Friends of SMSH organization recognizes an outstanding employee each quarter and provides service pins and incentive-related supplies and activities for hospital staff as well as needed services and events for patients. Friends of SMSH is a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting understanding of mental health and the needs of individuals with mental illness, improving the quality of life for patients, and providing recognition and support for employees.
For information on mental health, South Mississippi State Hospital or membership in Friends of SMSH, please call 601-794-0219.