Cultivating wellness in the community

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Families United Training Center recently hosted a Bridging the Gap for Community Healing event.

The event was presented in cooperation with The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of the Central Mississippi Area Inc., and Regional Compliance Coordinator Alandra Bell-Readus.

“We strongly believe that the overall health of Mississippians plays a crucial role in their ability to contribute to the state’s workforce, which — in turn — leads to increased economic development,” said FUTC founder and director Falana McDaniel. “This ongoing initiative aims to provide education, training and support services to individuals and families affected by substance abuse. We desire to help them understand the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, while also informing them about the dangers of substance abuse.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Dr. Daniel Edney, Mississippi State Department of Health State Health Officer, joined the event, sharing the importance of prevention in living healthy lives physically and mentally. Edney also encouraged participants to take advantage of free blood pressure checks at local health departments.

Opioid Response Network Regional Coordinator Kathy House shared information highlighting evidence-based training from ORN at no cost. StandUp MS Outreach Coordinator Charlotte Bryant provided Narcan training, and free overdose response kits including Narcan were provided from the Mississippi Public Health Institute.

Families present shared their experiences of how substance abuse has affected their loved ones. Attendee Mary Richardson expressed regret on not being aware of the available information while trying to save her son from substance abuse. He died as a result of his addiction.

“The National Institutes of Health have highlighted that preventing substance abuse and promoting overall well-being is a complex issue,” McDaniel said. “However, we believe by providing individuals with the necessary tools to manage life’s stresses and identify their abilities can help them excel academically and professionally, while also making positive contributions to their community. Ultimately, this can promote well-being and prevent substance abuse.”

For more information, visit and