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Philadelphia Announces Free Mental Health Month Events Promoting Healing, Wellness and Understanding

An Intimate Conversation with #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke, Two Mental Health First Aid Certification Trainings and a Community Celebration for Children are all Part of the Lineup.

PHILADELPHIA — In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, Philadelphia’s behavioral health department will host a number of free community education and outreach events during May to promote mental wellness, healing and understanding and encourage use of the City’s array of mental health services and treatments.

The lineup of events kicks off today with a panel discussion highlighting evidence-based practices proving effective in the treatment of substance use disorder. Clinicians and individuals in addiction recovery will highlight the positive results being achieved through the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Prolonged Exposure for PTSD and Medication-Assisted Treatment. Details: Substance-Use Treatment: An Evidence-Based Approach, May 1, 2019, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Community Behavioral Health, 801 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Click here for more information.

A community workshop exploring the psychological effects of gambling and the diversity of cultural norms and perspectives on problem gambling takes place May 6. Details: Betting on Culture: Gambling in the Global Community, May 6, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Jewish Family and Children’s Services, 2100 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Click here for more information.

Adults who regularly interact with young people are encouraged to register here for a training that teaches participants how to administer First Aid to a person between the ages of 12 and 18 who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development and teaches a five-step action plan for helping. Participants will learn how to identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use challenges. They will receive a three-year national Mental Health First Aid certification upon completion of the training. Details: Youth Mental Health First Aid @ Friends Hospital, May 7, 2019, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friends Hospital, 4641 Roosevelt Blvd., Scattergood Building, Philadelphia, PA 19124. Click here for more information.

Philadelphians interested in learning how to administer First Aid to an adult experiencing a mental health crisis such as hallucinations, self-injury, panic attacks, suicidal behavior or crippling depression can register here for the adult Mental Health First Aid curriculum training. Participants will learn how to identify, understand and respond to a person in crisis until appropriate supports are received or until the crisis resolves. They will receive a three-year national Mental Health First Aid certification upon completion of the training. Details: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 and Thursday, May 9, 2019, 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. both days. **This is a two-day session. Attendance is required on both days to receive three-year national certification. Click here for more information. 

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is May 9 and a community celebration with music, games, giveaways and resources is planned to support the mental health and wellness of kids and to show children they are not alone in an effort to help prevent youth suicide. Details: Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: Suicide Prevention: Strategies that Work, May 9, 2019, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Shane Victorino’s Nicetown Boys & Girls Club, 1721 West Hunting Park Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19140. Click here for more information.

An intimate and thought-provoking conversation with #MeToo founder Tarana Burke will be the centerpiece of a behavioral health symposium on ending the cycle of silence around sexual assault and harassment. Community members are invited to experience and participate in a discussion about survivors and solutions with the popular activist who started the movement celebrated around the world for giving voice to survivors of sexual violence. Details: Sexual Assault and Harassment Symposium: Ending the Cycle Where you Live, Work, and Learn, May 17, 2019, full symposium, 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., keynote session with Tarana Burke, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Click here for more information. 

“These free events are community interventions that will help us raise awareness about the importance of mental health and healing, the impact of trauma on our behaviors and mental well-being, and the abundance of mental health and wellness services available in Philadelphia,” said Behavioral Health Commissioner, David T. Jones. “We welcome and encourage public participation.”

In addition to May’s event lineup, the behavioral health department offers several community wellness interventions year-round at no cost to the public. Here are six to consider tapping into:

Mental Health First Aid Certification Training
Both adult and youth curriculum Mental Health First Aid trainings are available throughout the year to all who live, work or study in Philadelphia. Know the Signs. Learn the Actions. Be a Lifeline. For more information click here.

24/7 Mental Health Screenings Online
Get a check-up from the neck up. Check your emotional well-being any time with a quick, free and anonymous online mental health screening at www.healthymindsphilly.org. Learn whether you or someone you care about might be experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder. If you feel sad, anxious or stressed, this screening tool can help you decide if you need further help. At the end you will be presented with information and next steps.

Network of Neighbors Responding to Violence
Continued exposure to violence and trauma can take a devastating toll on a community’s mental health and well-being. Enter the Network of Neighbors Responding to Violence — a network of community members the behavioral health department trains and deploys as trauma responders to support and lead responses to violence, trauma, loss and stress within their own communities. Trauma responders focus on addressing the lasting impact trauma can have on a community inspiring hope and healing after a violent or traumatic occurrence. If an event of trauma, violence or loss or constant exposure to community violence is affecting members of your community you are encouraged to call 267-233-4837 or email networkofneighbors@phila.gov to request the presence and support of trauma responders. Your call or email will be answered within one to two business days.

Drug Free Communities Grant
Leaders of grassroots community organizations are encouraged to apply through the behavioral health department to become a drug-free coalition and eligibility to be awarded a $125,000 grant to continue or expand their efforts to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth in their community. Drug-free coalitions are community-based groups located in a defined neighborhood or ZIP code. Coalitions must complete a 10-month training focused on community engagement with a goal of fostering drug-free communities. For registration to participate in the 10-month Philadelphia Coalition Academy Training please complete this online assessment. You may also email michelle.heyward@phila.gov for more information.

Mental Health Kiosks 
These kiosks are like blood pressure machines – they are free, quick, anonymous and allow you to conveniently take a mental health screening right in the community. Remember, they do not take the place of an evaluation or diagnosis – but they can help you learn if you are experiencing any symptoms of a mental health challenge and will give you a list of resources in your neighborhood.

Two kiosk locations:

Drexel University Recreation Center
3301 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

11th Street Family Health Services
850 N 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Narcan Overdose Prevention and Rescue Trainings
The City’s behavioral health department provides free monthly trainings to the general public on how to madminister the life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication Narcan. Learn the immediate protocols for effectively administering Narcan to help prevent fatal opioid overdoses. Trainings are held on the third Wednesday of every month from from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Community Behavioral Health, 801 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107. To register for a free training click here.