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Director of Mental Health America of Aiken County resigns

Aiken Standard - 4/17/2019

April 16-- Apr. 16--After 10 years as executive director of Mental Health America Aiken County, Lisa Tindal announced she plans to resign from the organization at the end of April.

Tindal said she is resigning so she can spend more time with her family.

"I have a daughter who is having a baby in May, and I made a promise to her that when she had her first child I would stop working and help her take care of her baby," Tindal said.

Her daughter is keeping the baby's name and gender a surprise, and Tindal is excited to welcome her new grandchild into the world.

Tindal came to Mental Health America of Aiken County after working for several years in child advocacy services. As executive director of MHA of Aiken County, she worked for a decade to alter people's perceptions about stigma-prone issues such as mental health and homelessness.

"I feel like, overall, my intention was to strengthen our programs and to maintain the mission of each of the individual programs," Tindal said. "At the same time I was very focused on making those programs relatable to others in the community ... It can be very difficult to talk about mental health. It can be stigmatized. It can be hard to talk about homelessness for women in children ... we worked really hard to help people understand there is no stereotypical face of homelessness."

Tindal said many of the homeless people she saw were not addicts or people who wouldn't work but rather people who had fallen on hard times economically or women who were trying to escape lifelong cycles of abuse.

"I wanted to make the agency more engaging and approachable and not something to avoid in a conversation," Tindal said. "Homelessness, suicide, mental health ... Once we can have a discussion about things like that we are able to start making a difference."

Tindal said she would likely be doing freelance work in the nonprofit field after leaving the organization. She has joined the Aiken Artist Guild and will spend more time painting and writing.

She has many fond memories from Mental Health America, from watching children become animated again to being "honored" with the trust of people in suicide support groups who wanted to share their stories with her.

She also shared her appreciation for the Aiken Standard for providing coverage to issues at the organization over the years and to the community for helping to support Mental Health America.

"I have learned so much about people, the human condition and the undeniable importance of treating each and every person with respect and kindness," Tindal said in a letter to the Aiken Standard. "My prayer is that, through his (God's) grace and providence, MHA Aiken County continues to tangibly and consistently be known as a steady place that restores hope for individuals in crisis, a safe place to those who are struggling and is a positive and thriving force for good in this wonderfully giving community!"

Kristina Rackley is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard.


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