PC library offers classes on how to help people with mental health problems

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Many mental illnesses are debilitating diseases. What if people could recognize the signs of mental illnesses and know how to help? Pierce County Library System is offering free mental health trainings—Mental Health First Aid and safeTALK—in partnership with CHI Franciscan Health’s Prevent-Avert- Respond (PAR) Mental Health Initiative.

“Mental health problems and mental illness affect many individuals and families in Pierce County,” said Pierce County Library Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “These trainings will develop a first line of defense made up of people in schools, businesses, faith groups and neighborhoods that can help those who need help find help.”

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that will introduce participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems. The evidence-based training will teach participants a five-step action plan to provide immediate help to someone developing a mental illness or in mental crisis, and connect them to appropriate care and support.

SafeTALK is a suicide alertness training that equips participants to recognize persons at risk of suicide, respond effectively, and connect them to help. SafeTALK is geared for anyone age 15 years or older who wants to learn to help prevent suicide, and it meets Washington state suicide prevention training requirements for some health care and school professionals.

Both trainings prepare participants to interact with a person in crisis and connect the person with services and support. The programs offer tools to determine what to do and where to direct the person for help.

Upcoming Training:

Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults 
Saturday, June 9, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pierce County Library System – Administrative Center, Meeting Room B & C, 3005 112th St. East, Tacoma.
Registration required. Ages 18 and older.
This eight-hour free training focuses on people who support older adults. Participants will learn a five-step action plan, ALGEE: Assess for risk of suicide or harm, Listen nonjudgmentally, Give reassurance and information, Encourage appropriate professional help, Encourage self-help and other support strategies. After the class, participants should have confidence to support someone who may be developing mental illness or experiencing a mental crisis and connect them to appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care.

safeTALK Suicide Alertness Training
Saturday, June 16, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Tillicum Pierce County Library, 14916 Washington Ave SW, Lakewood. Registration required.
 Ages 15 and older.
This four-hour free training will help participants learn to recognize and engage with a person who is having thoughts of suicide, and find out how to connect them with life-saving resources.

These trainings are part of a series that Pierce County Library launched in October 2017. Additional sessions will follow with content dedicated to children and adults. The trainings are open to anyone who lives and/or works in Pierce County and meets the age requirements for the specific training.

To register for either training, people should email their name, organization (if applicable), email address, phone number and training date to Monet Craton atmonetcraton@chifranciscan.org. Participants will receive training manuals and certificates of completion, and CHI Franciscan Health’s PAR Initiative for the Mental Health First Aid training will provide lunch.

Mental Health First Aid training is offered at no cost through collaboration among the Pierce County Library, CHI Franciscan’s PAR Initiative and certified Mental Health First Aid Instructors. Training is valued at $170 per person by Mental Health First Aid USA. safeTALK training is offered at no cost through collaboration among the Pierce County Library, CHI Franciscan’s PAR Initiative, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Washington Chapter.

Pierce County Library’s partnership to provide Mental Health First Aid aligns with the Strategic Plan goal to connect people with information and community resources that help people navigate life’s challenges.

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