September is known as national recovery month, now in its 22nd year. Recovery Month is a major initiative by SAMHSA, the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. There are some ‘140 Federal, State and local government entities as well as non-profit organizations’ which comprise the planning partners group. The initiative includes every conceivable ‘print, web, television, radio and social media tools to provide resources to individuals, families and professionals’. You may or may not have heard of this special designation.
The purpose for this national observance is that ‘recovery is possible and prevention works, treatment is effective and lives may be reclaimed from substance abuse and mental health disorders.’
SAMHSA media tools can be accessed online with information about every conceivable mental health condition, treatments, and links to resources.
One of the resources available for schools & community organizations is through the You Tube channel with several videos which may be used to initiate conversation/education. There is a ‘store of topics’ – on underage drinking, parents: it’s our responsibility (a good one), working with the homeless, being a friend to someone with a mental disorder and many more.
Check out the following healthy schools initiative videos/public service type announcements, store of topics videos, and the You Tube channel playlist: www.youtube.com/user/SAMHSA?blend=3&ob=5.
Other mental health educational initiatives include the Ohio Suicide Prevention “Campaign for Hope” which is rolling out a state-wide training module for schools and crisis responders. A webinar Thursday, September 15th showcased a pilot presentation with avatars, conversations and simulated situations derived from real life produced by Kognito.
There are training tools online via Ohio’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Iniative http://cjccoe.neoucom.edu/ which is a very engaging, realistic tool-a video of police called to the home of a mentally ill man. Crisis intervention team members learn the best response in a crisis situation. Typically what you find online varies in quality and engagement. If one is used to watching MTV, it is unlikely one would watch a boring documentary or talking head reading a script. Engaged by their peers however, or real-life situations is an entirely different thing. Plus, everyone loves a story.
Adolescents have their own opinions, their own voice, often not heard. Its necessary that social media like Twitter, You Tube and other communications vehicles are a part of the conversation, advocacy, help, and healing process in promoting resilience and hope. Stay tuned to “Pomegranate Cares” for some exciting initiatives and ongoing links to helpful resources.
[Photo credit: art therapy -broken heart, Pomegranate Health Systems, permission granted]