LifeStyles, li­brary team up for men­tal health event

Eight-hour course de­signed to ed­u­cate public, pro­fes­sion­als on men­tal health signs

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By SARA NEWMAN snew­man@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @in­dy_­com­mu­nity

In an ef­fort to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness about men­tal ill­ness, LifeStyles of Mary­land Foun­da­tion, Inc. and Wal­dorf West Li­brary will host a class next week aimed at teach­ing par­tic­i­pants about symp­toms and so­lu­tions for those af­fected by a men­tal ill­ness.

The Men­tal Health First Aid Course will be of­fered 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Satur­day, Sept. 9 at the li­brary, 10405 O’Don­nell Place, Wal­dorf, and will be a con­tin­u­a­tion of a pre­vi­ous com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion on the topic the li­brary hosted a few months ago.

“We had a quar­terly com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion about men­tal health and there were so many ques­tions and peo­ple were re­ally in­ter­ested and pas­sion­ate about learn­ing more about what they can do for in­di­vid­u­als in their lives who are strug­gling or cop­ing with some type of men­tal health is­sue and they wanted to con­tinue the con­ver­sa­tion and fol­low up for our di­a­logue,” Tisha Tyler, mar­ket­ing and de­vel­op­ment manager for Charles County Public Li­brary, said of the course.

The free eight-hour course is de­signed to teach peo­ple the skills needed to help some­one who is de­vel­op­ing a men­tal health prob­lem or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a men­tal health cri­sis.

“As we’re work­ing with young adults and adults in our com­mu­nity, it’s good for them to know how to prop­erly ad­dress sit­u­a­tions, not di­ag­nos­ing, but be­ing aware of how to han­dle sit­u­a­tions,” Co­rae Young, as­sis­tant director for LifeStyles and co-in­struc­tor for the course, said.

Young said open di­a­logue in a non­judg­men­tal set­ting are key to ad­dress­ing the neg­a­tive stigma that sur­rounds men­tal health.

“We will be talk­ing about a few of the men­tal health dis­or­ders, in­clud­ing anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, schizophre­nia, bipo­lar, sui­cide. We’ll also talk about what the ac­tion plan is. Men­tal health first aid has its own way to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion if you think some­one is go­ing through a cri­sis,” Young said.

“Men­tal health is one of those is­sues that we still don’t talk a lot about and one of the rea­sons our com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion was so well re­ceived is be­cause it was an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to have their voice be heard and con­nect to re­sources that can help them with a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion in their lives,” Tyler said.

Young said the course is open to any­one in the gen­eral com­mu­nity who is 18-years-old and older and any­one who is in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about men­tal health ser­vices. She said the in­ter­ac­tive class takes eight hours to com­plete and will in­clude role play­ing ex­er­cises and in­for­ma­tional videos among other ac­tiv­i­ties.

“[The course] re­ally does help peo­ple get a first hand per­spec­tive on what a per­son may ex­pe­ri­ence if they may have a dis­or­der, and for the gen­eral com­mu­nity to get a sense of how to help them if they’re go­ing through that,” Young said.

Young said she hopes the course “gives peo­ple a bet­ter per­spec­tive on the men­tal health cri­sis in our com­mu­nity, help­ing peo­ple feel com­fort­able about talk­ing about the need and sup­port­ing peo­ple who are go­ing through that and giv­ing peo­ple ad­di­tional re­sources as well.”

Par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive a three-year cer­ti­fi­ca­tion after com­plet­ing the course. Young said she hopes to see more cour­ses of­fered in the fu­ture, in­clud­ing mod­els de­signed specif­i­cally for veter­ans, col­lege stu­dents and public safety per­son­nel.

“I hope peo­ple will come away feel­ing em­pow­ered, that they’ve got­ten some in­for­ma­tion that will help them to have a bet­ter qual­ity of life, whether that’s work­ing out a men­tal health is­sue in their per­sonal life or in their pro­fes­sional life,” Tyler said. “Our role as a public li­brary is to be a safe haven where peo­ple can come, find out in­for­ma­tion, that they can be them­selves and be com­fort­able, all of our pro­gram­ming and ser­vices and events we keep that at the fore front, mak­ing sure we’re able to pro­vide as many re­sources for the com­mu­nity as pos­si­ble.”

To reg­is­ter or for more in­for­ma­tion on the course, email mar­ket­ing@ cc­plon­line.org.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY SARA NEWMAN

Wal­dorf West Li­brary and LifeStyles of Mary­land Foun­da­tion Inc. will host a Men­tal Health First Aid Course Satur­day, Sept. 9, to help the public iden­tify, un­der­stand and re­spond to signs of men­tal ill­ness.

Co­rae Young, as­sis­tant director of LifeStyles of Mary­land Foun­da­tion Inc., will teach a Men­tal Health First Aid Course at Wal­dorf West Li­brary Satur­day, Sept. 9, to help the public iden­tify, un­der­stand and re­spond to signs of men­tal ill­ness.

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