Library receives grant to fund mental health training for staff and community

This spring, Heights Libraries will offer two new behavioral health programs at the Lee Road branch: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Gatekeeper QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training for suicide prevention. Thanks to a $6,500 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services – which was awarded by the State Library of Ohio in January – these programs will be open to the public free of cost.

As an institution that serves members of the public from all walks of life, Heights Libraries recognizes the importance of training staff to assist individuals who may be experiencing a mental health emergency and equipping them with the tools to guide those individuals to reliable resources for long-term support and treatment.

This type of training is especially vital now, as approximately one in five American adults experience mental illness in a given year, and 60 percent of those affected did not receive treatment in the previous year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Heights Libraries has been training its staff in Mental Health First Aid since 2013. With the grant, the Library will be able to offer the same training to community partners and the public, and will be able to offer Gatekeeper QPR training for suicide prevention for the first time.

“We are excited to be able to open training sessions to the public and long-standing community partners such as city departments and public schools,” said Maggie Kinney, special projects librarian at Heights Libraries. “With this ‘it takes a village’ approach, the library will be able to support community members with mental health issues outside of our four walls and positively impact the community as a whole.”

The two-part MHFA training will be offered to the public on April 29 and 30 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Gatekeeper QPR training will take place on May 8 at 7 p.m. and on May 17 at 10 a.m.

The courses will be facilitated by Cleveland-based non-profit organization Recovery Resources, which takes a multifaceted approach to mental health and addiction counseling, and offers continuing education programs like these. The courses will teach attendees how to recognize, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness, identify the warning signs of a suicide crisis, and refer those experiencing a crisis to resources that can help them.

These programs support Heights Libraries’ strategic plan, which focuses on fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, promoting a safe and secure environment for the community, providing opportunities to positively impact the growth and personal development of our patrons, and being a bridge builder for community concerns.

Maggie continued, “The hope is that attendees will come out of training with the tools and confidence they may need to assist someone in a mental health crisis. By providing MHFA/QPR training we can promote compassion and understanding for those affected by mental health issues and cultivate an environment of community support.”

Click here to register for these events or call us at 216-932-3600 to learn more.

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