Myna German: Rotary has commitment to mental health


Dr. Myna German is a professor of mass communications at Delaware State University and the vice president of the school’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

Everyone is concerned about mental health today — from Generation Z to college administrators to local Rotarians.

The Smyrna/Clayton Rotary Club’s secretary, Robin R. Hayes of Nutritionally Speaking, hosted a forum moderated by club member Dr. Corrine Upshur.

The April 30 forum was held at the Smyrna Police Department, before a 30-person audience.

As part of an international Rotary initiative to reduce mental health stigma and increase access to services in the community, participants were introduced to a variety of topics: veterans’ recovery resources (James Corbett, Project Refit), trauma and resilience (Mone’t Floyd, Grace Center Mental Health Services), human trafficking (Sara Poore, director of the Delaware Human Trafficking Interagency Council), bullying (Desmond Wynn Jr., Rockford Center), social determinants of health (Karen Records, director of the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health).

The idea was to prep members on suicide prevention options in the community, heighten the audience to human-trafficking issues in Delaware that could even affect their children and create a call to action on mental health, which has been suffering at all levels since the pandemic. From children who missed two years of school and socialization to adults who have been more isolated, mental and behavioral health issues have been on the rise.

Therapist Andrew Samuels of London, a Jungian analyst and speaker at an online forum, stated, “I have seen more cases of domestic violence from people you would never have expected.”

Mental health issues have plagued big cities and small towns, and the Rotary stepped up to the plate to tackle this, as part of its community service mission.

For human trafficking, you need to learn the signs: a child overly distressed at school and suddenly picked up at school by a strange person, or an adult woman screaming in a car at a tollbooth and waving to get the toll collector’s attention. Children have even been trafficked by relatives to earn extra money, so their parents might sign off on such a person to pick up their child, and often, the school is the first party to suspect that something is not right. When that happens, they can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 883-373-7888 to figure out the correct documentation or whom to call, according to literature handed out that evening. It was toll collectors who have often provided the link to break difficult cases for the police, by noticing erratic behavior in cars, and they are to be commended for that.

The Smyrna/Clayton Rotary Club meets Thursday mornings at the Smyrna Diner. For information, please call Robin at 302-632-8381.

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