Our Staff

The Right People to Get the Job Done

A diverse team of 6 full-time and 6 part-time staff members bring decades of business experience in mental health and social service. 5 staff members are Certified Peer Support Specialists; this means they have lived experience of recovery from mental illness.

venus Amezcua

SOAR Navigator

Venus started at MHA in May of 2021. She has a Bachelors in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in Public Administration and currently working on a Masters in Social Work. She enjoys working with people and previously volunteered as a mentor to help people receive a network of services and support to help people living in poverty become economically self-sufficient. At MHASM she works with the homeless population and assists individuals in applying for social security benefits to help their quality of life. As a SOAR Navigator she increases access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. She has a passion for helping people and looks forward to the journey she will embark on with MHASM.

Kimberly Barta

Director of Programs

Kimberly began her career at MHASM in July of 2010 as a Case Manager under a HUD project called Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing. When that project ended, she worked under a project for people affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to provide Resiliency and Coping Skills. For the past few years, she has worked with clients in their transition from chronic homelessness. She is now the Director of Programs overseeing all services at Mental Health Association of South MS.  Kim is also a certified Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) Facilitator.  She holds Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with Psychology and Interdisciplinary minors.

Nicole Bedsole

HUD Supportive Housing Case Manager

Nicole began volunteering in our drop in center and in July of 2014, she started her internship as she was completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.  Nicole is the HUD Supportive Housing Case Manager.  She assists individuals who have a mental illness and are chronically homeless get into housing.  By providing the support they need, she helps them in a journey toward independent living as they become self sufficient.  She is a Certified Peer Support Specialists and a certified Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) Facilitator through The Copeland Center.  She is a certified Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid Facilitator.  She also participates in homeless outreach in south MS.

Kay Daneault

Executive Director

Since December 2007, MHASM has been led by Kay Daneault, Executive Director, B.B.A. She directs the organization’s growth as it supports the community with compassion and integrity. Kay values input from others to help people exposed to mental health issues find their way to a healthy lifestyle. Prevention is also a key factor in working with the general public to stay well in their home and work lives. Through an array of services, MHASM has helped many people to move forward in a positive manner for a better life.  Kay is an Advanced Level Wellness Recovery Action Planning Facilitator (WRAP) through The Copeland Center.  She is also a certified Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid Facilitator.

Jennifer Hughes

Jennifer Hughes

Homeless Outreach Nagivator

Jennifer has a heartfelt passion to help others.  She worked at Loaves & Fishes prior to coming to the Mental Health Association.  She is familiar with the challenges people experiencing homelessness are working through and enjoys connecting them with needed assistance. 

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Chip Lechner

Homeless Outreach Nagivator

Chip works in our Homeless Outreach program: PATH – Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness. He started volunteering at our drop-in center in October of 2019 as a Certified Peer Support Specialist and transitioned to the Homeless outreach program in March 2020. Chip works to get people off the streets and out of the woods into sustainable living situations, using his peer support training to build relationships and trust with the clientele. Chip has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems. In addition to Peer Support training Chip has completed Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training.

Becky-Madison

Becky Madison

Certified Peer Support Specialist

Becky Madison is a Certified Peer Support Specialist in Mental Health Association’s Drop In Program.  Becky has a gentle demeanor and can easily help people to feel relaxed and welcome.  She conducts several different support groups, with the ability to adapt to the needs of people we serve.  Also, part of what she does is one-to-one goal setting with participants in the program.  Helping people to move forward in a positive way and bring out their strengths is what she enjoys the most.

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Brittany Meaker

Drop In Center Program Manager

Brittany started as an intern at MHASM in August 2018 while in school at The University of Southern Mississippi. She went on to graduate with a Master’s in Social Work in May 2019.  Now Brittany is the Drop In Center Program Manager.  Through this work, she assists individuals who have a mental illness by providing support of their needs, coordinating and facilitating groups, social activities and learning opportunities. The program gives people who may be at without social and emotional support a chance to make friends and learn new skills.  Brittany has a gentle demeanor, which is a source of comfort for others.  She loves animals and has even brought some of hers to the center for everyone to meet.

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Patty Sinopoli

Program Assistant

Since July 2004, Patty has enjoyed different positions at MHASM. Originally Patty worked in the Drop In Center and still assists in that program scheduling weekly speakers. She has been Assistant to the Executive Director, and is now our Receptionist. Patty greets everyone with enthusiasm and a genuine caring attitude. She is very efficient in assisting people to find the resources they need in our community, and she was among the first Certified Peer Support Specialists in the state. Since its inception, Patty has been instrumental on the planning committee for Project Homeless Connect and our annual “Don’t Worry Be Happy” fundraiser.

Roxann Stokes

Roxann Stokes

Program Assistant

Roxann came to Mental Health Association through South MS Planning and Development District.  She has a background in food services, therefore, she is now an employee and is in charge of the kitchen at MHASM.  On Tuesday – Friday breakfast and lunch are served in the Drop In Center program.  Roxann coordinates the menu with the help of the people who attend the program.  Each day one of them helps to cook and one helps to clean.  They receive a small stipend.  Roxann shows them the proper way to work in the kitchen to avoid illness and injury.  She does the shopping and keeps food and beverage running efficiently.

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Beth Williamson

Accounting Manager

Beth Williamson comes to MHASM through 30+ years of experience in the Accounting field in multiple states, NY, FL, and MS.  Finances are very important to any organization, but as a non-profit we want to be the best stewards of the money we receive through grants and donations.  Beth is proficient and dedicated to making sure everything is correct and transparent.

She raised three children as a single parent.  Her children are grown and now she is helping her parents.  Beth says, “family is very important to me, I am very lucky to still have my parents around, and we all help take care of each other.”

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Melody Worsham

Certified Peer Support Specialist & WRAP Facilitator

Melody joined us in November of 2011 to help coordinate the Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) workshops MHASM was hosting in south MS for people affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  She is a certified WRAP Facilitator.  She was in the first class of Certified Peer Support Specialists trained through MS Department of Mental Health. She also provides Peer Support to clients across our programs. She is a founding member of the Association of MS Peer Support Specialists.  Melody currently goes out into the community to provide two hour or less educational opportunities about mental health and wellness.