CCMH Blog & News
Columbia County's 1st "Out of the Darkness" Walk
On Sept. 10th, 2016, 144 Columbia County residents walked a 2-mile loop through Scappoose, OR. This was for a generous cause to create awareness around suicide. Hosted by Scappoose Police Dept. and sponsored by Columbia Funeral Home, this was just one of the 375 walks that take place nationwide to support suicide prevention and awareness.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) promotes the idea that it's okay for people to talk about this critically important topic. It's okay for people that have been affected by suicide to have hope. For those thinking about suicide, to understand that there are people who care and can support you in whatever hardship you may be suffering. The AFSP has a goal to reduce the rate of suicide by 20% by 2025, and the best way to do so is to get people to understand and talk about it!
The walk was a huge success with encouraging speeches from CCMH's own Brianne Mares, prevention specialist, who worked along side the Scappoose Police Department's chief, Norm Miller, and SPD's records specialist, Hailey Holm, to create this special event for our community. There were also special appearances and speeches from Deborah Zwetchkenbaum, assistant director for Lines For Life Crisis Hotline, and Marilyn Grover, vice president for the Suicide Bereavement Support Group.
For Columbia County, we raised over $9,900 which will go towards research and bringing more awareness nationwide. This topic touches one in every five Americans, and in Columbia County it was found that an average of 11 suicides occur annually. As it stands right now Oregon is ranked 10th in the nation for rates of suicide, and our nation as a whole leads 2nd in the world for people ages 12-24. Can you believe that? There are so many suicides that occur through our home that we are ranked 2nd in the world!!
What is Mental Health First Aid?
Mental Health First Aid is a curriculum that teaches about recovery and resiliency and how someone can respond to a person who is having a mental health crisis or struggling with a mental health challenge. MHFA teaches the mnemonic 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.
Columbia Community Mental Health started offering Mental Health First Aid training in May of 2011. Since then 22 classes have been held and 294 participants certified. Since starting MHFA trainings, CCMH employees (3 currently) have also become trainers in the youth version of Mental Health First Aid, which assists participants to offer help to youth who are experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis until appropriate help is received or the crisis resolves. Different areas of the community have shown interest and some have already participated in a training and become certified Mental Health first aiders. We have trained people from the court system, schools, and juvenile department to mention a few. Because our community first responders had an interest in Mental Health First Aid training, we had 2 trainers take the specialized public safety curriculum supplemental training. We have participated in 4 Public Safety trainings, 3 of which were full week Crisis Intervention Trainings.
If you would like more information on the Mental Health First Aid Trainings offered by CCMH please contact CCMH