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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
April 15, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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April 15, 2015

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, April 15, 2015 5B So many people showed interest in the recent Mental Health First Aid training that the Plumas County Mental Health Department had to create a waiting list. The department is considering adding an additional Quincy session to its lineup of repeat trainings throughout the county. On March 31, 30 participants filled the Mineral Building at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds to participate in the free training, made possible through the department's Mental Health Services Act funding. The MHFA training was led by Ken Crandall, of the California State University, Chico departments of social work and political science, and Gina Ehlert, of the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions. A show of hands validated the fact that many people in the community are trained in first aid and CPR; however, the trainers pointed out that most citizens are uncomfortable when faced with someone experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis. The MHFA course aims to improve participants' mental health literacy. "If you saw someone with paraplegia having trouble crossing the street, you would stop and help, right?" Ehlert asked the group. "Almost anyone would. But what do we do when we see someone talking to themselves on the corner?" Responses included "Run away," "Look away," "Ignore it" and "Cross the street." During the course of the eight-hour session, Ken Crandall makes a point during a training segment. In additional to other roles, Crandall is the former head of the Lassen County Mental Health Department. Photos courtesy Plumas County Mental Health Department participants gained the confidence to help such a person rather than walking away. Ehlert and Crandall taught techniques to use in assisting someone experiencing a crisis due to depression, anxiety, psychosis or substance use. Participants first learned to assess someone in crisis for risk of self-harm and/or suicide. The rising suicide trend in Plumas County sparked back-and-forth discussion between representatives of various entities. Johanna Downey, of the Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center, shared the following statistic: In the nation the yearly suicide rate is 20 per 100,000; when the Plumas County rate is multiplied out it comes to 65 per 100,000. Plumas County Mental Health Encoura Encourage other support strategi~iii!ii representatives pointed out that the department plans to address the issue through an upcoming suicide prevention training. Listening without judgment was reinforced through various scenarios, and participants learned to make supportive statements and encourage people to seek help~ both from professionals and through applying self-help techniques. They focused on helping to alleviate the distress of someone in crisis, rather than trying to diagnose or treat the Gina Ehlert listens to a comment during a recent Mental Health First Aid training in Quincy. One exercise involved brainstorming a mental health term for every letter of the alphabet. underlying cause. MHFA participants included representatives from Plumas Unified School District, Plumas County Mental Health, the jail, the local branch of the American Red Cross, Plumas Rural Services, the Mental Health Commission, Feather River College, Alcohol and Other Drug Services, Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center, Veteran Services, the Sheriffis Office and Alternative Sentencing. Interspersed with slideshow presentations and lectures were exercises that had participants interacting with each other in small groups, moving around the room, drawing, brainstorming, role-playing and even learning care reminders via a high school-style cheer. The trainers also presented statistics; for example, in any given year, 19.6 percent of U.S. adults experience a mental disorder of any magnitude. This figure does not include incarcerated or homeless individuals, or non-English speakers. Ehlert and Crandall said this high percentage, combined with an acute mental health provider shortage in California and the nation, highlights the importance of having a strong presence of MHFA-trained citizens in every community. Plumas County Mental Health Department representatives agree. To this end, they are planning repeat MHFA sessions in the following communities. Each all-day training is free and open to anyone who is interested. To sign up, contact Melissa Nickerson at 283-6307 or --Blairsden, April 25. --Greenville, May 2. --Chester, May 9. The MHFA course was developed in Australia in 2001; since its introduction to the U.S. in 2007, some 300,000 people have been trained across the country. Summe ure Corn The Mohawk Valley adults ($45) are available in Stewardship Council has Graeagle at EcoCentric, Red held fundraising events for House Art and the Outpost; the last six years and in Quincy at the Plumas organizers promise that this County Museum; and in year's "Summerfest," Blairsden at the chamber of featuring The Comstock commerce. For will call Cowboys, will be another tickets call 836-2334. In the winner, event of rain Summerfest The seventh annual will move to "The Barn" in Summerfest will be held Blairsden. For more June 28 at White Sulphur White information call 836-2334 or Springs Ranch, 2200 Highway Ranch go to 89, just south of the junction whitesulphurspringsranch.c of County Road A15. Hours om and click on "Summerfest are 4 to 7:30 p.m. with gates " 2015" in the event calendar. opening at 3. The cost per Formed in 2009 as a person is $45, $15 for 12 and nonprofit organization to under, at the door. Tours of preserve the cultural the partially restored house heritage of the Mohawk will be conducted from 3 to 4 Valley, the Mohawk Valley p.m. Stewardship Council has A local group, Mike Hogan $45 purchased the White Sulphur and Friends, will provide $15 12 Springs Ranch property and music before the featured is in the process of entertainers. A hearty ranch More: improving it for eventual use barbecue dinner is included 836-2334, by the public. This historical and popular group The whitesulphursprings spot came into use in 1852 Comstock Cowboys will ranch.corn largely because of the provide fine Western music presence of natural warm as the featured act. springs. It was an important A no-host bar will offer stagecoach stop on the dirt beer, wine and soft drinks, chairs; pets are not allowed, road between Truckee and There will be both live and Organizers encourage Quincy and has long been a silent auctions. Attendees advance ticket sales to allow favorite recreation spof for should bring their own lawn food planning. Tickets for Plumas County residents. Are you prepared for the caring for an aging parent challenge or loved one? One of the greatest difficulties is not knowing what is needed, when, why and how to prepare for life's natural and forced events. April 16 is National Health Care Decision Day. Call or visit our Website to learn more about completing your Advance Directive/LivingWills. i Joanne Danielson, CPC, ELI-MP "Caring for aging parents and loved ones with grace, compassion and confidence" II Advance directive eliminates tough decisions April 16 is National regarding life-sustaining it can be revoked by the HealthCare Decision Day. treatment in the event they person saying so. This is a day of awareness cannot speak for themselves. People Emd it hard to think and action. If people are 18 This is not a death of death, especially their own, years of age or older they sentence, it is gift to a but letting others know what need to prepare an advance person's family and loved they want will be one of the directive, ones so they know exactly greatest gifts they can give. An advance directive what a person wants if they For more information on allows a person to make are unable to tell them. advance directives and how decisions and name someone A person can change their to prepare, visit graceful who can speak for them advanced directive anytime; Wellness & Recovery Through Individual & Community Empowerment BIG CHANGES! During closed session April 7, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors removed Peter Livingston as interim director of the Mental Health Department. The supervisors appointed Public Health Director Mimi Hall as the new interim director, effective immediately. The supervisors made it clear that Hall's appointment is limited to three months, corresponding to the amount of time that Kemper Consulting Group would use to review the department under a pending contract. The consultants would analyze the possibility of combining Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Services into a Behavioral Health Department for Plumas County. The supervisors pointed out that a leadership vacancy can provide a window of opportunity to look at such a consolidation; they said they hope to improve the function of the Mental Health Department. During the analysis, Kemper Consulting Group would also provide administrative, fiscal, and clinical support to the department. Regardless of action on the Kemper contract, we see changes headed our way! Everyone at the Mental Health Department is working to improve and maintain transparency through it all. As the employees who are responsible for the department's day-to-day operation, we look forward to increased involvement in the planning process. Supervisor Sherfie Thrall emphasized the hard work, care, and high level of dedication she has seen from Mental Health workers -- we want to include input from consumers and the on-the-ground staffers that provide services. A decision on the Kemper contract was postponed until the April 14 Board of Supervisors meeting, the results of which were not available in time for publication in this edition of the newspaper. We will share more details as soon as possible. Stay tuned! ! i