The Center for Mental Health Uses Targeted Resources Against Suicide
REGIONAL—(May 1) They hate to ask for directions, even when they are clearly lost. So expecting a normal, red-blooded male to seek help for emotional issues is probably not realistic. And yet, men between the ages of 25 and 54 are the most likely of all demographics to end their own lives.
“They are the least likely group to seek help,” notes Robin Berndt of the Center for Mental Health. “Men often see it as a sign of weakness to reach out and ask, because they think they can fix things themselves.”
Instead of expecting men to behave in atypical ways, the Center for Mental Health has taken a different approach—by providing a toolbox of skills for men to use. The program is called “Man Therapy,” a partnership between the statewide office of suicide prevention, Cactus Advertising and the Spencer Foundation, and it uses a non-traditional, humorous approach to engage men. Fictional therapist Rich Mahogany, created by the brilliant Denver ad firm Cactus, addresses men in a no-nonsense, masculine style that is designed to get past the natural barriers men erect between themselves and any discussion of “feelings.”
The Center for Mental Health is one of nine grantees statewide funded to help promote the Man Therapy website. However, Man Therapy is just one of the tools that the Center for Mental Health is using to bump up awareness of suicide prevention strategies throughout a six-county territory, Berndt said.
“May is national Mental Health Month,” Berndt said, “and suicide is everybody’s business.”
Berndt has been offering on-site suicide prevention trainings for bartenders and others who deal with the general public.
“Trainings are an important piece of our efforts,” she said. “I love that…. meeting people where they are at, weather it is a bar, spa, office, hospital or church. On June 19, we will be doing a training for barbers and hairstylists at Dalee Salon (542 East Main St.).”
Since starting in September of 2012, Berndt has done 14 suicide prevention trainings, using the “Question, Persuade and Refer,” model, and has made an effort to reach out both to faith communities in the area and to law enforcement.
Suicide Prevention is also in local schools, thanks to a four-year-old program called “Safe:Teen,” which works with students and educators beginning in middle school.
“Safe:Teen teaches how to recognize the signs of depression,” Berndt said. “We teach them what to look for, what to say, and what to do. The program is intense—it teaches kids to be a safety net for themselves.”
“This is a way for us to educate kids, and help them build a lifelong understanding,” said Janey Sorenson, marketing director for the Center for Mental Health. “Mental health is an important part of our overall health.”
Also coming up is a workshop called “Mental Health First Aid,” to be taught at the Montrose Re-1J School District offices May 9-10.
“It will be pretty comprehensive,” Sorenson said. “It gets into specific mental health disorders, and how to recognize the symptoms in someone else. With knowledge and understanding, we can move past fear.”
According to statistics, one in four people suffer from some form of mental health disorder at some point in their lives, she said.
The more people who are trained to recognize the signs and help prevent suicide, the better, Rpbin Berndt said.
“It’s really just a matter of offering hope,” she said.
To learn more, visit the Center for Mental Health online at http://www.centermh.org/, or call Robin Berndt at 970-252-3200.