Mental Health Association of South Mississippi holding ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ fundraiser

We’ve all been touched in one way or another by COVID-19. According to a recent survey by Forbes, 67 percent of people are reporting higher levels of stress since the outbreak of this virus.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by area mental health care professionals, who are fighting back with a smile. The Mental Health Association of South Mississippi is preparing for the 13th annual ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ fundraiser.

2020 has ushered in some new challenges to say the least. COVID-19 has claimed the lives of nearly 100 people in South Mississippi so far, not to mention all the others who have been diagnosed with the virus or who suffer one of its many other far-reaching effects such as economic hardships and isolation.

Leaders with the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi say the demand for their services and programs, including a day center and homeless outreach, are needed now more than ever. Mental Health Association of South Mississippi Executive Director Kay Daneault said, “Then we also do some educational things, some of which, because of COVID have changed. We’ve done support groups, educational groups, coping skills and things like that virtually, which looks like it’s going to be continuing like this to some extent, even after the restrictions are lifted.”

The non-profit’s biggest fundraiser of the year provides much funding for these services. The ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ celebration almost got scratched, but organizers are changing with the times, splitting its venue, half in-person and half remotely online. Mental Health Association of South Mississippi Board President Eric Oliver said, “You can attend the event in person. We’ll have social restrictions we’ll have in place to try to protect the people who do go, but we will also have it online.”

You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to take part in the fundraiser this year. Also new, you can get a sneak peek at some of the silent auction items that are up for grabs. Mental Health Association of South Mississippi Board Vice President Liz Hoop said, “You can sit at home on your couch or recliner. Somebody who wants to come to the event, maybe they can’t afford to buy a ticket to come, due to all the economic reasons going on these days, so you’re able to attend an event for free, at home, comfortable, enjoying the fun, and of course the participation in the silent auction, or live event, of course we also want that.”

For more information about the July 17th event head over to

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