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Lowndes Co. hosts mental health first aid training series

Lowndes County wants to raise awareness and train people on how to help someone in a mental...
Lowndes County wants to raise awareness and train people on how to help someone in a mental health crisis.(WALB)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 9:57 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Lowndes County wants to raise awareness and train people on how to help someone in a mental health crisis.

This comes as officials say suicide numbers are on the rise in South Georgia.

“At the end of the day, we are hoping people will be the difference,” said Jennifer Dunn with the Department of Behavior Health and Disabilities.

Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Legacy Behavioral Health Services, and Lowndes County Board of Commissioners partnered up to host a series of mental health first aid training for the community.

“They came to me and said ‘hey we want to get together, we’ve seen an increase in suicides, we have seen more people talking about being isolated, we have seen an increase in drug use, can we talk about that,” said Dunn.

Dunn says every class they offered has filled up.

The 8-hour training course is designed to help understand and learn how to give aid to someone who is having a mental health crisis.

From first responders, hospital staff, to members of nonprofit organizations, the classes teach how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses, suicide, and substance use disorders.

“It helps us get them the correct help they need instead of having to call the cops. Sometimes it doesn’t take all of that, sometimes it just takes being present and talking and being there for a person,” said Corey Wright, one of the participants.

Wright is a case manager at LAMP homeless shelter.

Seeing cases at the center, he tells me he took part in Thursday’s training because he wanted to learn how to help them.

Dunn tells me she’s excited to see the response and demand for learning in the community.

“It’s all about connectivity and how do we do that, particularly coming out of a pandemic,” said Dunn.

Right now, there is only one class offered per month until July but organizers are working on offering more.

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