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Mental Health America of Aiken County holds second human bingo event at Woodside Country Club

Aiken Standard - 1/29/2024

Jan. 28—Mental Health America of Aiken County (MHAAC) held its second annual "Aiken Black Tie Human Bingo" event at the Woodside Country Club. The charity event was a fundraiser for mental health support with a focus on suicide prevention.

All tickets were sold out for the event.

During three rounds of human bingo, attendees acted as bingo chips on a large playing mat. Prizes for players who completed a winning line included a long weekend getaway to Lake Murray, a week-long trip to Hilton Head, and a Downtown Aiken basket worth around $1,500 which featured gift cards from downtown businesses.

Attendees were also able to purchase raffle tickets for a wide array of prizes that were awarded at the end of the night, including a gift basket by Floyd and Green Jewelers and tickets to an upcoming Clemson football game.

Amy Patheja from the MHAAC Board of Directors said that money raised during the event would go towards supporting suicide prevention and family support.

"If you have one suicide in your family, you're more likely to have another," she said. "There aren't a lot of support groups for people who've gone through that, so we're trying to incorporate that."

Best friends with Patheja is Pam Fischbach, vice chair of the MHAAC Board of Directors, who said: "Last year, we did a lot of education and put stuff in the schools."

The 2023 fundraiser brought in $80,000, which helped provide mental health awareness programs to local schools and went towards updating the MAAHC suicide hotline.

Just The Facts

Last Year's Aiken Black Tie Human Bingo Event brought in $80,000. Those proceeds:

* Updated the MHAAC local suicide hotline and funded training for additional hotline volunteers.

* Brought "Don't Duck Mental Health," a public awareness and education program that teaches basic coping skills for mental health, to local schools.

* Certified additional trainers of National Mental Health First Aid.

* Aided placement of See Something, Say Something in the local school districts.

"Part of our money is going to train new people for that hotline," said Patheja about the 24-hour locally manned call program. "So people don't have to call the national hotline. If they're in Aiken Country they can call our hotline."

Did You Know?

The MHAAC Suicide Hotline helped save over 520 lives since 2020, per a Facebook post made by Amy Patheja. The local suicide hotline number is 803-641-4164.

According to Patheja, raised funds will also go towards providing mental health support for police officers and first responders. "They see all sorts of stuff on the job, and they don't have any way to really work through this," she said.

Proceeds from the Saturday night event are still being calculated.


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